Condé Nast’s Epicurious App Adds Pay Model To Mix

Just a week after Condé Nast’s iPad-only Gourmet Live added pay-to-download features within the app, the publisher’s two-year-old Epicurious app is shifting to a paid model after 3.5 million free downloads. The app itself is still free. But if you want sync recipes through its new Recipe Box, users will have to pay a one-time upgrade fee of $1.99.

The Epicurious brand is 15 years old and has established itself as a perennially popular foodie app, averaging 50,000 downloads a week.

The publisher has been looking to charge more for its content, especially within its free apps that have built up a popular following. Four months after hitting the iTunes Store, the Gourmet Live free iPad app started selling 99 cent back issues and “special collections,” as the publisher looks to round out the sponsorships that otherwise supports the feature. It’s adding new paid features each week.

The change also comes as the foodie category, which is becoming more crowded by the month, is sensing that users are willing to pay for this kind of content. Last week, Food Network began selling its In The Kitchen app for $1.99, though it still has a separate, free app called Food Network Nighttime.

The idea of adding a paid feature within an otherwise free app follows the model Condé Nast will employ for a number of other apps going forward. The Recipe Box sync function was added in response to requests from users that Condé Nast has been hearing since the Epicurious app was launched. In addition to meeting that perceived demand, Condé Nast also hopes it will encourage users who have mainly found Epicurious through the app to also visit its website.