With In-App Purchases in Free iPhone Apps, Tools Continue to Fall in Place for Paid Content Attempts

Apple today announced that in-app purchases are now allowed in free iPhone apps. This is great news for developers of all kinds of applications, from games to news, because it means the freemium model is alive on the iPhone.

If news organizations have any chance at charging for content it’s with a freemium model, and they now have the means to launch it on the leading mobile platform. While I’m skeptical of the viability of the paid model and the magnitude of the impact even if it’s successful, mobile must be a key component of any attempt.

(So I say again, isn’t it time to stop threatening and just go paid? We’ve been hearing all year about how News Corp is poised to begin charging for content – just do it already! If the industry really believes it’s the future, launching paid content is the only way to prove it.)

Also, doesn’t this make e-readers less attractive to news organizations? Why would a content consumer want to buy a separate device to consume that content on the go? E-readers may be the better choice for long-form content such as text books, but for news, I don’t see it. I can hear the “small screen” complaints now, but get over it, this isn’t newspaper delivery, it’s news delivery.

Just another reason for Hearst to rethink that e-reader launch.

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