WashingtonPost.com wasn’t the first Washington Post Co. (NYSE: WPO) outlet to go for the gold — or at least some silver — with a paid iPhone app: Sibling Slate hit the iTunes store ahead of the newspaper with its own $1.99 app. Unlike the newspaper, which plans to reevaluate its price for next year, Slate‘s charging a one-time fee for this version. But Slate Group Chairman Jacob Weisberg doesn’t rule out a subscription version through the iPhone — or the iPad.
Weisberg, who joined Slate.com soon after it was founded in 1996, is no fan of paywalls online. He spoke from the floor at our recent paidContent 2010 about how awful it was for writers and for Slate overall when the site was subscription-only and addresses it again here (in an interview following the first National Magazine Awards for Digital Media). But he has no problems charging for mobile content: “My philosophy about this is we want to keep the content free but people to pay for the convenience of delivery in mobile forms. … I think it makes a lot of sense but I also think it’s very important that we train users at an early stage to expect to pay for mobile.” Even $1.99 sends the message that the content isn’t created for free, while having the online access allows Slate to still have that critical mass it needs for editorial reach and advertising. More in the video embedded below or in this mp3.