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Will Paid Apps “Per Season” Be the New Rage?



The marketing world has been working hard to try and corral the power of apps for the iPhone and Android users of the world. Just when it looked like there was some settling of the waters the iPad comes along and churns everything again. This can be a tough game to figure out.

That’s why the approach taken by Fox News to create its first paid app, that initially looks to be just for the US mid-term election period between now and Early November, an interesting play. The news source has developed an offshoot of its existing iPhone app and will sell the new, more focused version for 99 cents. The focus on a hot topic like these elections is what they are banking on for success.

PaidContent tells us more

In an interview with paidContent, Michael Clemente, SVP for news and editorial, said the paid app is mainly tied to the midterm elections, but depending on its popularity, the News Corp network could extend the life of the app past this political season. The network is expected to make an announcement later this morning.

For now, the app, dubbed Fox News’ America’s Election HQ, will continue to update through the week of Election Day on Nov. 2 – after which it will expire.

So this doesn’t turn into a political or ideological argument, let’s focus on the idea of creating an app that has an expiration date due to the content’s value being viable for only a certain time period. It’s an interesting way to get more people to buy something rather than look for a free version. Of course, there has to be a true ‘value add’ or else this will come off as a cheap stunt to bilk a buck from an iPhone user.

Let’s face it, though, the under a dollar price tag makes it easy to pull the trigger so many people will figure “Why not?” if the content is important enough to them. Also, if they get burned most people don’t freak out over a dollar ‘lost’.

I think it’s a smart move but it may only be reserved for the bigger players since the cost of developing an app may get in the way of them producing multiple apps. If the value comes from a simple addition to the existing app (much like game apps do) then maybe there is something here for the content world as well.

The reality is that most companies struggle to justify the development and marketing costs of just one app. The difference here is the urgency that is created could make app users more likely to spend so there could be a significant upside for the right players.

One way I see this playing out is for sports leagues and teams. What if your fan base had the chance to spend a dollar each season to get that season’s information created for them specifically based on what is happening today? Advertisers kill for that kind of rabid following that is checking in on a regular basis with real intent. So what if it’s not a huge number just as long as it is the exact right target. Once the season is over the app goes away and the new one shows up next year for another dollar.

Just a thought, but apply this to other areas where seasonality is real and this might be a good way to go.

So what’s your thought here? Is this something that would interest you as an end-user? Is this something that could possibly be a good option for your target market?