World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers

A year with the iPad

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A year with the iPad

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Apple gave The Telegraph an iPad before the rest of the world, and invited them to secretly develop the best app and content they could. The company made great use of the device's attributes – then decided against launching what they had created.

Tim Rowell

"Our mind has changed from what we thought we would do at the beginning and what we intend to do now," says Tim Rowell, Director of Mobile Product Development at the Telegraph.

Because the device was so new, the Telegraph had no idea of how it would be used, or if its audience would use it at all. So rather than launch their all-encompassing service, they opted for a simpler product, but one that would give them tracking data so they could learn from user behaviour. Half of all users -- 60,000 people – volunteered their data.

What they learned surprised everyone. "People are realizing that the iPad is not a direct substitute for the newspaper, they're arguably complementary," Mr Rowell says.

On average, the Telegraph iPad app was being used only seven times a month, when users – average age 47 -- were unable to buy a paper. The devices were being left at home or at work – not being carried everywhere. And the app was not only being used in the United Kingdom – 186 countries at last count. "Here is a market, we can start selling the iPad edition to people abroad," Mr Rowell says.

Version 2 is to be launched next month. Here are some of the lessons learned:

- The iPad is not a direct substitute for print (yet).
- Users want editorial guidance – they want editors to provide the hierarchy of what is important.
- Production is a headache, building the app itself is easy.
- Advertising agencies and clients see the iPad app as a web product while newspapers see it as print. "We have to come up with a new metric," Mr Rowell says.
- Apple's insistence that anything offered outside the Apple store has to be offered inside is a problem, but Apple seems willing to listen to publishers' concerns.


Larry Kilman's picture

Larry Kilman


2011-03-11 04:56

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