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It was The Sun online wot lost it (AKA readers being stung by Sun iPad app?)

Sun newspaper logoThe Sun – like many other publications has brought out an iPad app – and it’s something I’ve been waiting a long time for – the full and proper paper in a digital form.

But there’s one problem: it’s not The Sun that you get in this country…

A digital abroad?

The Sun, like The Daily Mail, has quite a considerable Scottish presence in terms of journalists, staff and sales. The Sun is currently the top selling paper in the country, the Mail is number three. The Daily Record (which had a blinder of a scoop yesterday which showed fantastic use of the website as well as the paper) is number two and slowly closing the gap on The Sun according to the latest figures.

Basically it means the edition of The Sun in Scotland therefore, is not the edition of The Sun in England. In fact there can be quite a lot of differences – more local news, features, sport, opinion – depending on the events of the day (If the English Sun is having a pop at Scots for example, that comes out as does OTT England national team news or Conservative supporting, both of which aren’t really liked up here.) and in many ways it is a standalone paper.

But the iPad app? Well, that gives you the English edition. Which is of no use to me whatsoever. I care little for what they do in Turnbridge Wells.

Why no digital Scottish Sun?

Now I can understand why. The Scottish Sun has no digital editorial staff, but London has 30 plus. The emphasis on digital has come from London. The Scottish Sun has concentrated its efforts elsewhere (however the newspaper copy does appear online but that’s all. It’s one area The Daily Record, Scotsman, even The Herald whip it – though to be fair, Scotland is still not a digitally strong country and at the same time allocating resources into the newspaper has made it the top seller in Scotland so fair play, you can’t argue with that success).

But that’s still a pisser to me – and no doubt to others, given the popularity of the device. I would quite happily pay £8 a month (the current charge) to download The Scottish Sun on a daily basis. I think the £2 The Scotsman charges for their app is a steal (when it works) and would happily fork out for most Scottish titles – yes, even at full cover price (but on a monthly basis). The subscription model still has a chance here. And as long as I get to keep the titles on my iPad as long as I want.

Also, local news is what people want. It may be a global medium, but people want local news. And how long would it take to reformat the PDFs from the Scottish edition into this and provide a second app?*

“But you can just read the website – for free!” say some and that’s missing the point. As I have said in the past, print is a fantastic medium. The amount of information that is put onto one page is a modern marvel and example of UI, design and typography.

I like reading the downpage leads, the nibs and so on. One story to a page – even with a web side column – doesn’t do a newspaper justice to me, so I like to see it all. But newspapers take up a lot of space quickly, so digital versions are  a win.

“But why bother digitising the Jock edition” some of you may even say? Well, it’s not just the Scots you get with it. Scotland has a huge base abroad in the US, France, Australia, Far East. So this gives you a way of reaching them – and getting their cash.

“But no-one’s buying the iPad” Yeah, right. Also, when I’ve been in the Apple Stores, this device is reaching out to the post-40 audience unlike any I’ve ever seen (with the exception of the zimmer-frame). There’s a new market here to be tapped into. Add in in-app payments for the subscriptions (though I prefer pay via iTunes) and the job’s done. Most people won’t cancel a little £8 a month subscription.

So for tabloid readers in Scotland it’s still wide-open for someone to nip in and still The Sun’s glory (though The Sun is doing really well at cheesing off the blogger community according to this piece).

*Of course you also have the issue of “do I buy the app to support it and hope the Scottish edition follows” or not…

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