In 2013, the Montreal, Quebec newspaper La Presse+ launched its tablet app to help reach a more mobile audience. Two years later, the La Presse+ app is said to account for nearly 60% of the newspaper's revenue and is recognized as one of the best newspaper tablet apps in the world.
According to GraphicArtsMag.com, the Toronto Star was so impressed with what La Presse+ had done, that the Star is launching its own tablet app in 2015. These tablet apps are being made possible by a piece of software called MediaSuite, and they could represent the future of newspaper publishing.
Tablets Could Be The Solution Newspapers Have Been Looking For
According to Visiolink.com, newspaper apps allow readers to become more interactive with the newspaper and its content. The Toronto Star intends to upload new content at 5:30 a.m. each day and make their tablet app as interactive as possible. An interactive app audience could be the digital advertising solution newspapers have been looking for as the tablet offers a larger screen than a smartphone, which means more advertising real estate.
La Presse+ Is Seeing Results
Since it launched its tablet app, La Presse+ has seen a 45 percent increase in circulation and a significant increase in the time that readers interact with the app. For example, readers spend an average of 73 minutes interacting with the tablet app on Saturdays, which is well beyond the engagement time that La Presse+ was getting with its smartphone app or its desktop publication.
The Look Is In The Hands Of The Publication
One of the secrets the Toronto Star noticed to the success of La Presse+ is that the tablet app does not try to look like a newspaper. Instead of the standard column layouts that come with a desktop or smartphone digital newspaper, the tablet layout looks more like an interactive website. This inviting look has helped to increase engagement and it is something that the Toronto Star can adjust to fit its own needs.
The MediaSuite software allows a newspaper to create layouts on any medium, and everything in each layout can be customized. This allows the newspaper to create contests for advertisers to get real-time information from consumers, and it also allows the newspaper to get immediate feedback from readers on every article that is published. With the ability to completely customize the reader experience on a larger screen, it looks like newspapers may have finally found a way to start generating advertising revenue again.
The issue for some newspapers will be the cost to consumers for using the app. The Toronto Star will follow the La Presse+ lead and make the information on their newspaper app free. This shifts the newspaper's thinking away from the subscription revenue that had been on the rise recently, and back towards traditionally content advertising revenue. It could be a risky move, but the new software that is available and the success of La Presse+ give the Toronto Star and other newspapers hope that a tablet app can be successful.