Adelaide’s Advertiser to charge for digital newspaper

April 29, 2009 by  
Filed under Media

The PANPA Newspaper News Industry Blog announced yesterday that the Adelaide Advertiser would begin charging $2 for a full digital edition of the paper.

A single copy of the “Smart Edition”, as it will be called, will cost $2, or subscriptions of one month, six months or one year can also be paid for either the weekday or weekend product, or a combination of the two.

Quest Community papers in Queensland already provide free full PDF page-turn editions of their papers (like the Albert and Logan News). A full “spread” of the newspaper is laid out on the screen, with a users turning the virtual page with a click of the mouse. With no ability to zoom in, the only way to read individual stories is to download a PDF of the page.

The Advertiser will use the Newspaper Direct model, which boasts “1020 newspapers from 84 countries in 40 languages” amongst its digital offerings. There are many more features than those seen in the News Ltd Community Newspapers, allowing for zooming in on a page, as well as the ability to print whole pages or individual stories, but I wonder if people will be willing to pay for it.

According to the PANPA post about the introduction, Advertiser Newspapers Managing Director Michael Miller said it might be more convenient for people.

“It’s also for people who are travelling and want to see a full copy of the paper in the proportions and design in which it has been published.

“We don’t see this as replacing the printed copy. It just offers the paper an alternative form that some people might find more convenient.”

I don’t really see how it will be more convenient, in that you’ll have to sit in front of a computer screen to navigate through the paper in a way that’s not entirely user friendly. It would certainly be much quicker to just flick through the pages of the paper, if it’s the full edition you’re after.

It looks they provide a mobile application on the Press Display site, so perhaps it could be conveniently accessed on the road. If it’s not costing The Advertiser much to provide the paper in this format, then it will be interesting to see what the takeup is, and whether this is a way Australians will be eased into paying for news online.

You can try a one-day free trial, or sign up for the Adelaide Advertiser’s “Smart Edition” here, otherwise check out some of the other 1020 newspapers around the world that are using the Newspaper Direct service.

This should have been the first thing I checked… The last thing I’ve done is a simple test, replacing “adelaideadvertiser” in the http://adelaideadvertiser.newspaperdirect.com/epaper/viewer.aspx URL to see who else might be trying this. The “Smart Edition” is not new to Australia.

The Courier-Mail Smart Edition
The Age Smart Edition
The Sydney Morning Herald Smart Edition
The Australian Smart Edition
The Herald Sun Smart Edition

So I’m left wondering what was new about Adelaide’s Advertiser joining the throng…new enough for PANPA to post it, and journalism.co.uk to pick it up.

If everyone’s doing it, what are the figures on who’s paying for the news to be delivered this way? Is it a failed revenue stream, a successful way to get people to pay for news online, or are papers doing it because it doesn’t really cost them anything?

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