<i>USA Today</i> Publisher Says He Regrets Not Charging for Paper's iPhone App

Once the genie is out of the bottle, it's hard to put it back in. That's a lesson newspaper publishers have learned when it comes to the Web and one that USA Today Publisher David Hunke recently addressed in regard to mobile news.

The Associated Press reported:

"In fact, Hunke said he regrets that USA Today didn't start by charging for the newspaper's iPhone application, which is free to download. 'I'm not sure we realized what we had,' he said. 'I think that's a value readers will be willing to pay for.'

"... As one step toward expanding its revenue sources, on Aug. 3 USA Today will start selling e-mailed replicas of its daily newspapers for about $10 a month, Hunke said at a gathering of reporters. USA Today already has been selling electronic editions for $13.95 a month, but now it is switching to a new technology provider and putting more resources into promoting the service."

Recently, Mark Potts of Recovering Journalist published a two-part series analyzing the current mobile news environment and what publishers should do to get involved. He wrote:

"The numbers on mobile growth are explosive. Just about everybody's got a cellphone these days that will at least accept text messages; smartphones like Apple's iPhone, Palm's new Pre and the various flavor of Blackberries are proliferating, and offering many more ways to deliver information to people on the go.

"According to The Kelsey Group, 54 million Americans now access the Web on their smartphones; Nielsen estimates that about 40 percent of those regularly check their phones for news."
  • Will Sullivan

    Will Sullivan is the Interactive Director of The St. Louis Post-Dispatch.


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