Apple does it again… they decided that newspaper can no longer offer paid print subscribers a free access to the iPad edition. The reason being that this subscription strategy leaves Apple out of the money flow.
Anyway in the whole “web app” vs “native app” debate the newspaper use case is really symptomatic. There is absolutely no technical justification to provide a newspaper edition in a native application (as oppose to a web application that would handle it much better imho, NIWEA anyone ?). The rational is obviously on the business side as the app store/market provides the much needed go-to-market channel that integrates the money transaction.
If you fancy building a start-up, here is an idea (for what it is worth… a sanity check, the business plan and the execution plan is left to the reader :-): A newspaper subcription portfolio
- Manage a virtual wallet of newspaper subscription
- Able to buy individual article, subscribe for a week/month/year to every newspaper/editor participating (see below)
- My articles: list of articles that I have bought and/or marked as “favorites”
- My view: list (in River of News format) of daily articles available to me from my subscription (with the possibility of sorting them in different category – sport, economy,…)
- Social layer with possibility to “like” and comment article (obviously the traditional bridge to existing social network like Twitter and Facebook is a must)
- Multi-channel (ie. an end-user can access and read an article he bought from any device)
- Easy integration on the backend/frontend with existing database and existing user base.
- Ability to access subscribers profiles and informations (some statistics on readers usage and habits might be useful)
- Looks a lot like a RSS Reader (like Google Reader) with the additional transaction layer
- Big players in the best position to implement that service in-house: PayPal, Google,…
- Probably difficult to sell the idea to Editors/publishers who like to own the user profile.
- The digital book is an use case related to the newspaper one, and here is what look like a nice execution of the Book in the cloud use case: Booki.sh
- The mobile app market is upposedly worth $58 billion by 2014… would be nice to capture a little part of the pie no ?