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Fred Wilson, a known venture capitalist, put up a post this week arguing that magazine and newspaper apps are not a viable strategy for content publishers. It's no secret that the print industry has been in decline, with print companies shutting down. As information moves to the web, some of the core principles they could rely on before, exclusivity and scarcity, are no longer available to them as anyone can easily blog about everything in this link economy. The arrival of the iPad made many magazines and newspapers jump on board, because with apps, there's an illusion that these core principles exist again.
Whereas it soon became clear that most people were not willing to pay to have access to a web site, they thought that it would be easier to get these same people to pay to download an app which has basically the same content, with some 'pretty' layer on top of it. With recent figures showing that sales of those types of apps have been declining recently however, Wilson argues that this is only temporary. Instead, he sees the mobile space heading more towards the web model, where information want to be free, and with billions of devices accessing mostly free content.
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This week, the Washington Post is the latest of the big, well known newspapers to add itself to the growing list of digital apps available on the iPad, alongside other well known names like the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, Globe and Mail, The Times and more. But are these worth your time? Do they replace their paper versions, and do they deliver a good value for the price?
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