Times have been tough recently for the Newspaper business. Remember when major cities had at least two competing newspapers, and each newspaper company usually had both morning and evening editions? If you’re under age 40, you probably don’t. The newspaper business has been in decline for some decades, but internet technology has recently speeded it up.
First you have countless free online news websites siphoning off newspapers’ former paying subscribers, Craig’s List has ruined classified advertising revenue for newspapers, and printing and other production costs continue to rise. Long time columnists are quitting to publish their own content on the internet. This gloom and doom can also be applied to the magazine business. Is there any good news out there for the publishing world?
iPhone apps may help newspapers to rise again or at least maintain themselves while they reinvent and regroup. Newspaper iPhone apps can bring a leading edge technology to an industry many consider tired and old fashioned, maybe even comatose. What an iPhone app can do is bring the newspaper and its content one step closer to the customers, who are able to personalize and share their favorite news content and read it anywhere they are, even offline. iPhone apps can help newspapers add a social networking feature to their publications and give an advertising sales force something new to talk about with potential advertisers instead of dwelling on declining circulation numbers.
The next iPhone operating system upgrade later in 2009 will add a subscription capability, allowing newspapers, magazines and other publishing formats to take paid subscriptions for their content directly through the iPhone app. It would be advantageous for newspapers and other publications to start planning their own custom iPhone apps now to take advantage of this exciting new technology. Six months from now you’ll be glad you got started now.
Major newspapers with their own iPhone apps inclued The Wall Street Journal, New York Times, USA Today, and The Telegraph (UK). The Associated Press just released its own iPhone app newsreader, but we don’t consider them an actual newspaper. A group of three major newspapers in Japan has even combined forces to release a combined iPhone application that features all three papers in the same app!
However, you don’t need to be a major newspaper or a newspaper with deep pockets to have your own custom iPhone application. And not every newspaper needs the level of features and functions that the New York Times and USA Today apps incorporate. If your publication’s online version already has RSS Feeds for different categories, you’re halfway there – your custom iPhone app will use your existing RSS Feeds to power the stories in the app. And if your paper’s website doesn’t already have RSS Feeds they’re pretty easy to set up. Now if you don’t yet have a website for your paper, you’re probably in big trouble!
If you need an iPhone app for your publication, try searching online for “custom iPhone apps for newspapers” and you’ll find a developer that can get you started.