Some of my favourite iPad apps are free e.g. Flipboard but if I need an app or think it deserves the purchase price I will pay. How do I make this decision?
I regularly play Words with Friends and while there is a free, ad supported version, I play it enough to actually want to pay for it. It is important for me that the developer receives payment for their work, and I know that my small part may convince them to continue to support the app and hopefully release updates in the future.
When it comes to productivity tools, sometimes there is no choice but to pay. Goodreader is an example of this, where the free alternatives are not quite as polished.
When it comes to entertainment, the decision is not quite as straightforward.
Let’s take magazines. Esquire and T3 both cost £2.99 per issue which is not a big saving over the printed version, but surely the convenience of the digital edition would justify the price?
Well, er no actually, the experience is worse. The apps themselves are massive, generally over 500MB, buggy and not that intuitive.
One of the things that irk me about the publishing industry is that it seems to be waging a war on itself. For every publication that erects a pay wall, there are hundreds more that offer compelling content for free (ad supported) either through apps or via the web.
Why then can traditional media companies not adapt their businesses models to suit this new dawn?
Small (and big) iOS developers are making a living creating apps that offer a really good user experience and deliver a useful service all from a price point starting at zero and rising to a few pounds. Typically these apps will only ever be bought once (that is no new monthly content or subscription model), yet these businesses have created over 300,000 apps that have been downloaded over 10 billion times and in the space of a couple of years have created an entirely new market.
If I buy a magazine I’m not fully engaged with the content, it’s something that I will come back to, but on the iPad this is not the case. Often the magazine app provides a clunky interface that looses my interest and almost compels me to find alternative content through the browser. In my previous post I touched on what would make pay for a news app (mainly offline reading) but I can think of no reason to buy a magazine iPad app.
There is just so much good content available either as a free app or through the browser that I have no desire to pay for content. Publishers take note!