The Times launches weekly digital edition app into the Apple App Store, Android app to come
New universal iOS app, The Times of London Weekly, hopes to worldwide audience, one that is familiar with the Murdoch daily newspaper’s take on international and UK news
The Times, News UK’s daily national newspaper, today announced its new weekly digital edition launch. The Times of London Weekly could be considered the second major experiment in creating a digital-only newspaper by Rupert Murdoch, but this time the effort is far less ambitious than trying to create a daily newspaper from scratch as he did with The Daily.
The Times of London Weekly is designed to appeal to an international audience, having been launched first into the Apple App Store, with promise of an eventual Android app.
“The Times of London Weekly is designed to be a digestible read that will provide a snapshot of the most compelling news and opinion writing in Britain, covering affairs both at home and abroad,” the paper announced today.
The app uses the new Adobe Digital Publishing Solution to create a universal app, designed very much like a mobile news app, even on the iPad.
The Times of London has long been one of the most famous newspapers in the world, built on a reputation for trusted, accurate reporting, incisive commentary, witty columnists and feature writing with flair,” said John Witherow, the Times editor. “Our new weekly app offers international readers the very best of British journalism, which regularly sets the agenda at home and abroad.”
The Times also has a digital edition app available for the daily newspaper, but it is a replica edition which has received poor reader reviews inside the US Apple App Store (though better reviews inside the UK store, where readers say they appreciate not getting their hands dirty). Of course, the US app calls the paper The Times of London, while the UK app simply says The Times.
Because of the presence of this app for The Times, though, the new weekly app was not launched into the UK version of the App Store. (The US store has both apps, for the daily newspaper and the new weekly, at least for now.)
Can Murdoch succeed with his new weekly digital newspaper where he failed with his daily? It will be difficult. News UK has adopted a very rigid approach to paywalls, and this app is like the paper’s website in that it forces the reader to pony up to gain access.
But unlike The Daily, this new weekly will not require a dedicated staff, nor a huge investment from corporate. Estimates were that the first Murdoch digital newspaper was costing the publisher half a million dollars a week. This one will cost the price of an Adobe DPS license and maybe an editor.
Additionally, its target audience is different, most likely expats worldwide who miss reading The Times back home.
“We all know that London has one of the world’s most vibrant and creative cultural scenes, so let our talented cabal of critics ensure you remain well-informed and ahead of the game when it comes to the next big thing to spring from our shores,” the app descriptions says.
While The Daily’s radical right-wing politics probably shocked a lot of readers not used to reading the New York Post (The Daily’s editorial team came from the Post), this time readers will be more used to reading Murdoch’s perspective on the news and politics. And while this may limit the potential audience a bit, this app is entering a digital device environment where there are now millions upon millions of iPhone and iPad owners. At the time The Daily was launched there were less than 10 million iPads sold in the US, and The Daily never got around to launching an iPhone version.
The new digital weekly newspaper, though, has already made its first big mistake, however: the only subscription option is to buy a monthly subscription at $3.99 (US). This means readers will be reminded each month by Apple that they can cancel their subscription. While readers do get a one month free trial if they agree to sign up for the monthly subscription, keeping those subscribers – as publishers have learned these past few years – can be a very difficult thing to do.