The SMH app, which available now, offers subscribers the complete newspaper on their iPad. It can be navigated by section, viewed exactly as the daily newspaper is laid out, and can be read in text-only format. There are search functions as well as the ability to comment on stories and share articles
But it’s the subscription model itself that’s most interesting about the app.
For full subscribers of the physical SMH newspaper, the app is completely free. Subscribers to the weekend print editions of the herald in NSW and the ACT can upgrade their subscription to the Weekender package, which costs $205 a year or $18 a month, and includes full access to the Herald’s content on the app, plus delivery of three newspapers over the weekend.
If you don’t have a weekend paper subscription, you’ll need to get one, as the Weekender package is the only way to access the app’s content.
If you live outside of NSW or the ACT, you can pay the same amount and get access to content on the app without the paper delivery, while an international electronic edition costs $52 a year for people living outside Australia.
Apparently Fairfax will be offering a package for the content that doesn’t include receiving the physical paper “very shortly”, potentially within a few days.
It makes sense for the newspaper giant to offer packages to promote subscription to their physical product, but to make it a necessary component of the digital version of the app? That’s just ridiculous. At this stage, it’d be worth waiting a few days to see whether an “electronic-only” version of the app pops up.