Postmedia Newspaper apps for the iPad
FTLComm - Tisdale - Wednesday, December 8, 2010

The newspaper industry, world wide, has realized that it either adapts to the new technological changes, or it will find itself unable to sustain operations. The Australian media mogul Rupert Murdoch decided that the way to go was to charge subscriptions for online use of the London Times web site (click on a story and see what happens) and immediately it had only 10% of the readers it once had. With the emergence of the electronic tablet readers, though similar to computers accessing web sites, which the tablets can do, but the competition for readership really dilutes the number of people coming to your web site and the consequences of that is quite simply that the advertising you put on the site will not get seen and advertisers will not foot the bill.

One possible solution is creating dedicated applications for a newspaper that create an electronic version of the paper for use on the tablets. Though competitors are rushing their devices to market, the iPad by Apple has a strangle hold on the market, although Apple itself says that this domination may be temporary. Recognising this economic reality, newspapers are developing apps for the iPad so that they can garner a readership. The theory being that if the reader has an app on his or her iPad for your paper you can measure the number of potential readers and sell advertising specifically for that medium.

This is what Postmedia has done. On Saturday they released their apps for Canada's major newspapers on the iTunes App store for free. (The links appearing on this page are for the web sites as the apps must be installed from iTunes)

The app versions of newspapers already available are powerful news systems. The Globe and Mail, Toronto Star and Halifax Chronicle Herald all have their apps available and I regularly use them. I also visit the New Zealand Herald every day and once a week check on the New York Times or the Washington Post. The Reuters app is excellent as is the BBC. Now, I have the major Canadian cities with their own apps and no longer will have to deal with using a web browser.

Most of the apps are constructed using the same format but clearly the papers themselves have been given the choice of the type of content they provide. The
Regina Leader Post is smaller than the Saskatoon Star Phoenix as which is retaining past day's news longer. Vancouver, Edmonton and Calgary each have excellent local news coverage which is pretty thin in the two Saskatchewan versions. My favourite is the Winnipeg Free Press.


The Free Press simply blows all the others away because it does not use the format chosen by all the other Postmedia papers and it has the whole paper. You can browse thru the content just as you would through the paper version with its local advertisements, want ads, obituaries and each of its daily sections. This includes the comics and crossword puzzles. This one is the proof of concept for the iPad and no doubt for the other similar tablets when they come along, as no doubt, the news papers will develop apps for the other operating systems used in other smaller tablets. A tap or two on the screen and the full page view on the iPad becomes just the readable size you want.

If you have an iPad just open the app "App Store" and in the little search window at the upper right hand corner type in the name of the newspaper you want and the icon for that paper and others will be displayed. Tap on the "free" button then the "install" button and the app will download to your iPad. The first time you open the new app a video displays showing you how to efficiently use it.

It is really important to know that the folks at
Postmedia have done a fine job of constructing these apps and they work flawlessly while you are connected online using WiFi. However if you are going off to the doctor, or dentists office, just go to the menu and download today's issue of the content and then you can read it offline without a WiFi or G3 connection.

Postmedia newspapers with their own apps are:

The Province
the Windsor Star
Times Colonist
The Vancouver Sun
The StarPhoenix
Ottawa Citizen
Calgary Herald
Edmonton Journal
The Gazette