Bloomberg News

USA Today May Charge for Mobile Apps, Publisher Says

August 23, 2012

Gannett Co.’s USA Today may charge for mobile applications on smartphones and tablet computers, said Lawrence Kramer, the newspaper’s president and publisher.

Gannett has transferred about half of its 82 newspapers to a pay model, leading to a 13 percent gain in digital revenue last quarter. While USA Today’s website isn’t behind a paywall, the newspaper is contemplating plans to charge for access on mobile devices, Kramer said in an interview on Bloomberg Television’s “Street Smart” with Trish Regan and Adam Johnson.

“There is not going to be just one business model anymore,” Kramer said. “If people want it on their cell phone, they may have to pay for it on their cell phone, because there’s a cost to delivering it that way. If they want it on their iPad, we may charge them for an iPad app. Yes, I definitely think in many ways they will be paying for it, and that’s OK.”

USA Today’s mobile traffic was “up strongly in June” with page views more than doubling from a year ago, Gracia Martore, Gannett’s chief executive officer, said during last month’s earnings conference call. Digital revenue at USA Today rose 37 percent last quarter from a year earlier.

Gannett’s newspapers reach 11.6 million weekday readers. USA Today has more than 14.5 million downloads of its apps for smartphones and tablets.

To contact the reporter on this story: Alex Sherman in New York at asherman6@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Nick Turner at nturner7@bloomberg.net


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