Just read that the WSJ is going to cost $4.15 per week on iPad. That is ridiculous given that the same content is available on the web and on Apple’s own iPhone for just $1.99 (and for free within many corporations including Microsoft :)). I think all the media companies that are rushing to create iPad specific apps are being just a bit too hopeful that it will serve as a silver bullet for their sagging profits. I doubt if iPad or any other upcoming consumer tablets are going to change the way people consume digital media (free and on the web).
Actually I expected Apple to extend its dollar-a-song model to iPad as well. I’d have loved to read an excerpt of a story for free with an option to read the entire article for say 10 cents. But Apple knows and so do the media companies, that this model does not work. Though the iPod propelled Apple to number one music reseller in the US, it did little to improve the overall music industry (2008 10-year Music Consumer Trends Chart). So I’m not surprised that the same company that tried to unbundle music albums 8 years ago is selling digital content in packages via subscriptions on iPad.
Well, we’ll know soon how it goes. In about a week from now, many people would be proudly strutting their iPads around, wondering what to do with it. I’m guessing reading paid subscriptions won’t be among the things that they will use it for. During gold rush, people who made the shovels made the most money. Apple is being smart in being a shovel to the media companies who are trying to gorge paid content down our throats.