Teletext’s loss-making non-commercial content operations, which ran via TV signals, may have been shelved last year, but the brand has lived on in the form of commercial projects like Teletext Holidays, Teletext Racing and TeletextCasino. And now it also seems to be looking for a new lease of life as a mobile publisher.
Teletext Digital Services, which is owned by DMGT’s Associated Northcliffe Digital, says that it has seen 300,000 downloads of its portfolio of mobile apps on the Apple (NSDQ: AAPL) app store in the first six weeks of their launch. But it’s worth pointing out that not all of these apps are actually Teletext services. TDS is acting as publisher for the portfolio, which includes an app not only for Teletext Holidays but also other AND businesses such as FindaProperty, Motors.co.uk and two Daily Mail-branded puzzle apps, among others…
With the exception of the Daily Mail (LSE: DMGT) games apps, which sell at £0.59 ($0.89) a pop, the rest are free. Teletext says it plans in future to explore “a variety of other app types and business models, particularly those developed by third parties with subscription or transactional monetization models.” It also says it wants to work on apps for non-AND businesses as well.
As publisher, Teletext says it provides product development, marketing, PR and commercial skills to support the apps. Teletext also has provided some capital for some of the projects, although in most cases these apps came out of the budgets of the individual AND businesses.
Here are the numbers on downloads:
—FindaProperty: This has been the most popular of the apps so far, with downloads of 120,000 since January. The GPS-driven app, which lets people find houses and agents based on current location, has been ranked number-two in the lifestyle category and 13th in the top-25 free apps.
— Jobsite: Perhaps it’s a reflection of the current economic climate, but the second-most popular of the apps so far has been Jobsite. It’s been downloaded 35,000 times, and is ranked first in jobs and 15th in the UK’s lifestyle section.
— Teletext Holidays: Working under the brand name Travel Tip-Off (the name of the site’s e-newsletter that has travel deals of the day), this site has had 11,000 downloads.
— Motors.co.uk: 11,000 downloads for this one, too, which links up with the website and has a catalogue of 150,000 cars for sale.
— Localpeople: the companion app to AND’s hyperlocal site initiative has had a not-very-impressive 1,000 downloads.
Add all this up and it comes to 178,000. On top of this, AND’s free app for Metro, which launched in 2009, has had 130,000 downloads.
Those three game apps from the Daily Mail have had 5,000 sign-ups. Selling at £0.59 per app, that’s a grand total of £3,950 in sales from those (that’s before Apple or any developer partners take their shares). Still a pretty long shot in making up for the losses at the old Teletext, which had reported a loss of £4 million in the year to October 2009.