Apple’s iPad has opened a lot of doors for mobile consumers and technology providers.
Apple’s competitors didn’t wait long to release their own tablets, giving consumers a choice. A year and a half after the launch of Apple’s iPad, the number of tablet users is still growing, so it’s important for people to get acquainted with all the products out there.
A study conducted by the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism in collaboration with The Economist Group showed that tablet users are loyal news readers.  According to this study, 11% of the US adult population own a tablet and 53% of tablet owners are daily tablet news readers. That’s the reason it’s so important for news publishers to be completely engaged in creating news in a tablet-friendly format.

News for Free

News used to come from newspapers, radio and TV. Then the Internet emerged and news design and channels changed forever, as have all of our lives.

News websites are available to consumers 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and for free. RSS feeds (news feeds about any topic) we subscribe to can be automatically sent to us (e.g. by email.) Most websites offer this option to inform their consumers and keep them up to date on new products and campaigns.

I believe that customized news alerts (like RSS feeds) are a perfect fit if you don’t necessarily have an interest in ALL news headlines.

News Apps

Although tablets come with a web browser, you could also download news apps as an online news source.
There are many quality free apps is available for downloading, like the USA Today app and CNN app for Android tablets. Both apps give you constant updates on many news headlines. CNN’s app even allows you to share news, comment on posts and submit your own stories.

If there are free news apps available, why would anyone download a paid app?
– Access to content: Paid apps often give you access to more content than on the websites. After a trial period, you can decide if you want to subscribe. Some people believe that the extra options and content are worth paying for.
– Constant updates:  Paid apps generally provide constant updates and this is another argument for users to choose paid apps.
– Supporting developers: Users also like the idea that they’re supporting the developers and securing the future of quality apps when they pay for an app.
– Ad-free in most cases: Apps like NewsRob Pro remove advertisements and add extra features once the user has decided to go premium. Many users will pay to have ad-free news.

 

The NYTimes app is best for NYTimes subscribers because non-subscribers can’t access anything else but the Top News section. However, they should offer more to consumers who choose paid subscriptions, in order to keep an edge over free apps such as Buzzbox: an app that allows you to customize your news from more than 2000 news sources and RSS feeds. Not too bad for a free app.

The idea of choosing apps over web browsers might not be everyone’s first choice, but I think that the majority of tablet consumers will continue using web browsers. The study mentioned above states that 40% of tablet news users get their news mainly through a web browser, compared to the 21% that uses apps and the 31% that uses both equally.

Consumers want certain features from a paid app. Some examples include ad removal, access to the entire content, constant updates, the choice of downloading stories or videos for offline reading/watching, news customization, local weather forecasts, the possibility to share stories on social networks, comment on posts, post stories, and breaking news alerts. If these options are available, a paid app will have a complete package to offer its consumers.

So where will the future of news availability go from here?
The future of news partially lies in the hands of tablet owners and their needs. News publishers should stay focused on app developments and not rely only on web browsing. People like customized apps.