iPad apps to force website pay walls


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The iPad is being viewed by many as a transformation device like its siblings, the iPod and iPhone, but one of the changes it may bring is the return of an old idea, pay walls for news organization web sites.

That’s the thinking of Bill Tallent, CEO of Mercury Intermedia, the smartphone and iPad developer whose products include USA Today’s iPad app.

Many publishers are strongly considering charging subscription fees for their content in iPad apps, but in order to do that they will need to block off their websites so users can’t just bring up the regular site in Safari for free, Tallent suggests.

Standard websites work a lot better on the iPad than on the small screen of the iPhone so the potential is great for the free website on Safari to erode the revenue potential of much the same content on a paid subscription iPad app. 

Tallent addresses that in the above video, which is a presentation he made at the workshop “Smart Phones for Smart Journalists” on April 9 in Nashville. The workshop was held by the Online News Association  and the Freedom Forum Diversity Institute with underwriting from Cell Journalists of Nashville and the Scripps Howard Foundation in Cincinnati.

So not only is paid content coming to the iPad, the trendy device is forcing publishers to reconsider hard registration walls for their nameplate dot com sites.

Did we need an app for that?

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