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CNN Launching Pay iPhone App; Live Streaming For $2 Plus Ads

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While *Dow Jones* follows through with plans to convert some of its iPhone and BlackBerry free app users to paid subscribers, CNN is jumping right into the premium market — although in a small way. The Time Warner (NYSE: TWX) cable news network is charging a one-time $2 fee for the CNN iPhone app that just went live (direct iTunes link), hoping to take advantage of what execs see as iPhone/iTouch users’ comfort with small, instant transactions. It’s also planned as dual revenue stream from the start, launching with logo placement and banners for advertisers Chevron and Lexus. The approach differs considerably from that of TW sibling Time Inc., which is going ad-only for iPhone news apps from CNNMoney, Time and Sports Illustrated, and premium for non-news apps like People Celebrity Tracker, $1.99, and SI Swimsuit, $2.99.

The CNN app itself is a mix of what is becoming standard for news orgs — constantly updated headlines, sharing, alerts — plus CNN iReport uploads/management and live streaming. (Screenshots; demo here.) But, always conscious of its lucrative cable licensing fees, CNN will not be streaming the cable network’s own programming live. Instead, the live video will come from Live’s multi-stream service. The pitch: “The power of CNN in your hands.” Some features:

— In addition to the live streaming, CNN is promising on-demand access to video clips.

— iReports can be viewed and, with the iPhone 3GS, recorded, then uploaded directly. This isn’t a first; CBS (NYSE: CBS) News Mobile has a dedicated, free user-gen report app called CBS EyeMobile.

— Stories are designed for scanning (or snacking, a popular term these days) and to be read in full. Also, text stories can saved for offline reading.

— Users can follow a story or a topic with updates pushed to the device.

7 Responses to “CNN Launching Pay iPhone App; Live Streaming For $2 Plus Ads”

  1. So I was listening to CNN on Sirius this morning and the two hosts were trying to give the viewers a demo of their new App and they were screwing up all over the place. “oh wait, I didn’t want to go there…” “What you would see if I could find it is…” “It’s so simple…oh wait…”

    It was rather comical.

  2. @patricia. You have a point. I agree with you that good free options will go away in the future and that we need to start discerning cheap content from quality journalism. But I just don't think we're quite there yet – although someone needs to try to take the lead. More power to CNN if they can do it.

  3. @John, in the future the "good free options" for news will change and you'll get junk for free just as it had been in the past. Good content costs money to make, and ad revenue alone rarely supports good content.

    I'll gladly pay