The Week Unveils Free Mobile Apps; Holding Off On Tablet Version


While magazines and newspapers are trying to figure out the various ways to charge for accessing their sites and apps, news mag aggregator (it prefers to be identified as a “curator”) The Week‘s U.S. edition is unveiling a free app for Android and iPhone. Additionally, it is ignoring the mania for tablets, at least for right now, and has no plans for an iPad app, though it is preparing a number of other apps tied to the magazine. Separately, the UK version of The Week is exploring a tablet version at the moment, a rep said.

The release of the app comes as The claims to be surpassing 1.7 million uniques, which represents a rise of 51 percent over March 2010.

The app has the usual navigation features: the scroll bar at the top latest news, editor’s choice, news, business, and the arts. The roundup of political cartoons are also included for pinching and zooming — and above all, sharing via Twitter, Facebook or email.

The iPhone and Android apps were created on The Zumobi Network, which runs apps for MSNBC (NSDQ: CMCSA), The Today Show, Parenting, The Sporting News and others. The launch sponsor of The Week’s app is Lincoln automotives.

While weekly news magazines have been struggling for years, The Week’s strict diet of aggregation has served it pretty well. That was particularly true in Q4, when ad pages were up 27 percent over the same period the year before, according to the Publishers Information Bureau stats (in comparison, Time was down 4.5 percent, while Newsweek fell 33 percent, though that was in large part due to the chaos resulting from its sale).

That position — plus the fact that The Week has much lower costs than those other newsweeklies — allows it to confidently avoid the questions about whether or not to rely solely on ad-support for its digital content.

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