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All The News That’s Fit For An iPad

The New York Times offers feature-rich subscription app for free on Apple’s tablet computer, with a paid service planned for 2011.

The New York Times iPad App
(click image for larger view)
New York Times iPad App
The New York Times, which is preparing to launch a paid subscription to the newspaper on the Apple iPad, is offering full access to the publication for free temporarily.

The iPad application, which was launched Friday, replaces the newspaper's Editor's Choice App, which had been available through Apple's App Store. The new application uses the same interface design as the previous software but offers much more content. Included are 25 sections, more videos and photos, breaking news alerts, and improved section and article navigation.

The new app will be free, until The Times launches a new version next year that will require a paid subscription.

Like other newspapers and magazines, The Times is experimenting with business models in an effort to take content to the growing number of mobile devices, from smartphones to the emerging category of tablets. The commercial success of the iPad has jump-started the market, which will also include offerings from Samsung, Dell and Hewlett-Packard.

"More and more, our readers are connecting with The Times across a variety of platforms, and we are developing products that allow them to engage with our content in a meaningful way," Yasmin Namini, senior vice president of marketing and circulation for The Times, said in a statement.

To date, most newspapers are still struggling to transition to the digital world from print. While the latter continue to account for the majority of advertising revenue, the number of subscribers has declined dramatically, as people have headed to the Web for free content and classified ads.

With few exceptions, newspapers were unable to make much money from online advertising or subscriptions when the PC was the primary device for accessing the Web. However, the proliferation of mobile devices is giving publishers a second chance to introduce paid subscriptions and develop successful business models for advertisers.

The Times has provided free content through its website for some time. However, the newspaper announced in January that it would introduce in 2011 a "metered model" that lets visitors read a set number of articles for free per month while being charged for stories exceeding that number. Newspaper subscribers will get unlimited access at no additional cost.

Separately, people who access the Times on mobile devices will also need a paid subscription. That model is being used today by the The Wall Street Journal, which has always charged for accessing its content online. Accessing the newspaper through a mobile device requires a separate paid subscription.

Among the features in The Times' latest app is the ability to share articles and videos through Facebook, Twitter and e-mail. Such social-network integration is a way to introduce the mobile version of The Times to potential customers.

Ads will certainly be a major component of the iPad app, but details on how they will be incorporated have not been disclosed. Nevertheless, Denise Warren, senior VP and chief advertising officer, said the newspaper would "deliver unparalleled marketing value to our clients, creating ads that make the most of the iPad’s rich media capabilities."

In launching the latest app, The Times said that Fox Searchlight, Mercedes-Benz and MicroStrategy were featured advertisers. The Times' Editor's Choice app has been downloaded more than 650,000 times since its launch in April, the company said.

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