Telegraph Media Group made its first step towards charging readers for digital content on Thursday with the release of a new iPad application.
A “daily edition” of the Telegraph newspaper for Apple’s market-leading tablet computer will be available for download at 5am UK time every morning for a one-off fee of £1.19 or as part of a £9.99 monthly subscription. Print subscribers will be able to access the app for free.
Once downloaded – a process the publisher claims takes less than a minute – the app can be used without an internet connection. However, the app will not be updated throughout the day – as the Telegraph’s website is.
The Telegraph introduced its first iPad app last September, relying solely on advertising and sponsorship for its revenues.
The Telegraph is the first British newspaper to release a new subscription product for the iPad since Apple announced its controversial plans to take a 30 per cent cut of any in-app payments. Groups representing publishers around the world have been highly critical of the scheme, which also allows only a limited amount of customer data to be shared with media organisations.
However, Hearst – the US company behind Esquire and O, the Oprah Magazine – announced on Wednesday that it would push ahead with iPad editions of its titles, and was comfortable with Apple’s levy.
The Financial Times revealed in November that the Telegraph would this year join the Times in charging for online access to its newspapers. The Telegraph’s monthly iPad fee matches that of the Times, which also bundles tablet access with its £2 weekly or £1 daily website charges.
The Telegraph said that no decisions have been made on charging for telegraph.co.uk, which remains available through the iPad’s web browser for free.
Extra features only available on the iPad include a facility to ‘pinch and zoom’ to change the text size of articles, something which may be popular with the Telegraph’s many older readers, as well as interactive crosswords, video and cartoon archives. A “night reading” mode allows articles to be read in white text on a black background, reducing screen glare.
“Following extensive research we know that our iPad readers want their Telegraph articles enriched with digital content plus a celebration of what makes the Telegraph distinctive, such as Matt and Alex cartoons, crosswords and our top columnists,” said Edward Roussel, digital editor at Telegraph Media Group.