Thoughts On Selling the WWW.

CNN Puts a Price Tag on Mobile Content.

Posted by Dan Vigil on September 29, 2009

cnniphoneBack in February I posted an article outlining 6 Strategies For Monetizing Digital Content. One of those strategies was to focus on the delivery and immediacy of content. Whereas most people won’t pay for content, they will pay for mini applications that deliver information to them in timely and convenient ways.

 As many content providers are sitting around planning ways to charge for content online, CNN has taken the plunge today with its new Iphone application, priced at $1.99.  The app is pretty slick and well organized allowing easy access to CNN breaking news and headlines.

Being in the advertising business, I was pleasantly surprised to find that ads are still being served within the application. Though the ads aren’t obtrusive, I’m sure they’ll receive lots of complaints from readers who expect an ad-free environment for shelling out some cash.

There’s a link to iReport so users can submit their own news reports with videos and photos.  The “Local” section of  the app is called “My CNN” which automatically tunes into feeds from local newspaper websites. Users can also enter a topic and “follow” news topics or save articles for later reading. The video feeds section is quite impressive, allowing users to view videos live on their phone while news is breaking. No more running to the nearest television for updates.

There are a couple of functional downsides however. The app doesn’t support landscape mode and doesn’t seem to allow for zooming like you can from web sites displayed on the iPhone, but  it’s well worth the $2.

I’d expect that this is an opportunity that local newspapers will be looking into to deliver quality and timely local content to their readers in the near future. It’s less costly and easier to produce an iPhone app today than it was two years ago and it’ll cost even less 2 years from now.  The developers kit is free so it’s only a matter of time before this trend catches on.

“The Word Is Alive”


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