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The Times and Sunday Times had always intended to launch more niche pay-for digital products than just their eponymous websites and iPad apps. Now the first such niche off-shoot is here…
That prices it competitively against rival science titles like Popular Science. But this is a one-off; a 300-page upgrade to Thursday’s 60-page edition – Times Newspapers tells paidContent:uk there won’t be a new edition each month.
You can see why – more than your average print-to-tablet shovelware, Eureka took me 25 minutes to download (even longer than Wired UK’s new half-a-gig edition) because it’s full of interactive graphics and animations, like a CD-ROM, navigated primarily via a hexagonal honeycomb arrangement rather than linear pages.
This kind of stuff isn’t produced quickly. Wired will take stock of what is also a one-off before planning how to resource the production of its tablet edition every four weeks. The Times had already used AppliedWorks to build its eponymous iPad edition’s infographics, but Eureka was developed in-house along with TigerSpike, managed by Times tech reporter Murad Ahmed.
The Times says Eureka is “the latest in a series of iPad innovations from The Times, designed to showcase our award-winning journalism and the full functionality of the iPad”.
The thinking is, while £0.59 is a low price, the big, one-off Eureka will enjoy a long shelf life. But one also wonders whether The Times is dipping its toe in the water for what may be a disaggregated future. If Eureka’s one-off proves popular with scientists and enthusiasts, could Times Newspapers be tempted toward a regular schedule?
Times digital director Gurtej Sandhu told paidContent:uk in May:-
“Although we’re a general newspaper, there’s absolutely no reason why we can’t be stronger in various verticals as well. We’re not talking about ‘The Times’, we’re talking about The Times plus more…
“It’s important not to look on it as black-and-white – there are many shades of greys – and we intend to live in many shades of greys as well, that is the element about a rich experience for the City, or about politics and various bits and pieces.”
The Times’ paid model may be a fightback against the brand disaggregation foist upon newspapers by the web, but that doesn’t mean it can’t also operate niches of itself. It has experience doing so in mobile, with its Spelling Bee and crosswords applications.