Summary:

Twenty-five thousand people read The Times on iPad each day. Its stablemate The Sunday Times counts 22,000 readers, including two million iP…

The Times iPad app

Twenty-five thousand people read The Times on iPad each day. Its stablemate The Sunday Times counts 22,000 readers, including two million iPad page views.

Those numbers may sound small (in print, the papers circulate an average 446,109 per day and 1,031,727 on Sunday). But they’re a start and they point to the popularity of iPad within the new multi-platform paid ecosystem. In effect, about a third of Times Newspapers’ digital subscribers – 79,000 at last count – read by iPad on a given day.

The stats were given by Sunday Times production director Simon Regan-Edwards at World E-Reading Congress on Tuesday. “An average of over 100 pages are read per user, he said. “There are hundreds of pages in the app. On average, people aren’t reading all of those.”

In a talk that threw light on the process of developing the Sunday paper’s iPad edition, Regan-Edwards said…

Months in to planning, the team abandoned prototyping when it saw Time (NYSE: TWX) Inc.’s Sports Illustrated concept. “They had stolen our ideas,” Regard-Edwards joked. Instead, he began trialling the WoodWing production software, which Time Inc had used, and on which The Sunday Times was later built.

– Being quick to market wasn’t easy. “We were upgrading systems, moving building and trying to build an app all at the same time … It was on a Friday afternoon when I went to the executive editor’s room and said, ‘Now I know why the New York Times did a (limited) Editors’ Choice app’.”

– But the Sunday edition , built in-house, and the weekday edition built by outside agency Tigerspike are entirely separate applications. “I’m not sure we’re doing our readers a favour with this because they have to flip between apps and there’s a different UI,” Regard-Edwards said.

– “Publishing at midnight – well, that lasted about a fortnight. It seemed that, every Saturday, there was a big breaking story. We abandoned that idea that, in a digital world, you can just publish your first edition. Our paper has a 2am print slot finish; we aim to follow that as closely as possible (on iPad). This weekend, we published at 2.30am. We do aim to get the latest fourth edition inside the app.”

– “The contentious point was when we said to the print teams, ‘We’re going to pull back some of your print deadlines’. It was contentious because we’d spent money on new printers so we could print as late as possible. We said to the print teams, ‘You need to be involved in this process; therefore, you’ve got to do more during the time that you have.”

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