iPad Edition a ‘Real Positive’ for USA Today

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As the USA Today staff have had to cut costs and jobs to stay competitive, the success of the newspaper’s iPad app has been a "real positive" for the company, executives said Monday.

That’s an excerpt from an article at Apple Insider last night. Apparently as part of a radical restructuring during the latter part of 2010, USA Today decided to focus on more of its resources on the iPad – and it looks as if that focus is paying off.

"The iPad has been a real positive for USA Today," the Telegraph UK reported Gracia Martore, Chief Operating Officer at USA Today parent company Gannett as saying,. "We expect this will translate into a much more significant improvement" in revenue, she added.

A few other interesting bits about the iPad edition that caught my eye:

— The USA Today iPad app has had 1.4 million downloads since it launched last April. That doesn’t strike me as a massive number; I wonder how it stacks up in comparison to other iPad newspaper titles.

USA Today relies on advertising to fund its iPad app, but Gannett CEO Craig Dubow admitted that the company is "looking across the board" at charging for content.

Here’s hoping that we’ll soon here of a new Apple subscription model which will give USA Today some flexibility if they move to a paid iPad edition.

USA Today’s "positive" news comes at a time when some publishers have struggled to maintain downloads of their iPad issues. Magazine purchases for the iPad have been in sharp decline as initial interest has cooled.

This doesn’t surprise me at all. Ever since I first reviewed the USA Today iPad edition, I’ve thought it was one of the very best iPad newspaper titles. It has remained free through nine months now, it has always been one of the titles that has felt the most like a real iPad edition, and one of the very few that offers continually updated news content (24/7). Its recent 2.0 update has made it an even stronger iPad title.

So I think USA Today’s success on the iPad is richly deserved. I’m glad to see that a title that really strives to embrace what the iPad can do and to publish a genuine iPad edition, rather than a slapped-together PDF viewer style version, is the one that is seeing positive results.

Patrick Jordan

Founder and Editor in Chief of iPad Insight. Husband, father to a lovely daughter, Commander of the Armies of the North, dog lover (especially Labs), Austinite, former Londoner, IT consultant, huge sports nut, iPad and mobile tech blogger, mobile apps junkie.

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