The Financial Times (FT) released a second iteration of its Web-based HTML5 iPad app this week that focuses much more on user experience as the way readers prefer to interact with the digital publication’s content.
The new app lets readers toggle between live viewing of the site’s content and a static page based on the paper’s layout (called Morning Edition, which displays the layout of the print paper each morning). The app also lets users clip and save articles under MyFT. Last year, at Subscription Site Summit, Helen Hoart spoke about how Harvard Health Newsletters were able to retain more subscribers by letting them create an annotated library. While the FT’s new app doesn’t seem to have annotation features, just being able to clip and save news articles in one location will be highly valued by subscribers.
By eschewing the Apple store, FT is able to keep the 30% cut Apple normally takes on app sales. This makes sense for well-known brands, who will have fewer problems with discoverability.
FT has also unbundled its digital offerings from its print subscriptions, which means subscribers with a print subscription need to pay more for digital access. FT has two digital-only packages, a standard one for $6.25/week and a premium package for $8.59/week; both contain unlimited mobile and tablet access.
But FT has had some trouble with payment processing, mainly because, unlike the iTunes store which holds customer credit cards, there’s no really convenient way for mobile/tablet applications to receive payment. But Rob Grimshaw, FT.com’s Managing Director, told paidContent that new options may be coming from Amazon and PayPal, and that “it’s a problem that’s about to get solved.”