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Autosport.com changes on the way


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#1 JimFosterAutosport

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Posted 26 November 2010 - 10:54

Hello everyone

I thought I'd drop you a line to let you know about some changes that we are soon to implement on the site, plus give you a little update as to a couple of projects we're working on at the moment.

I want to do this a) so it's not a surprise for you when it happens and b) so that, if there are any problems, we can react to them quickly and ensure that the most important people - you - aren't affected too much by them.

Okay, this has probably intrigued you... so what are we doing?


Installation of PayPal facility for micropayments
Well, we've been working very closely with PayPal for the last few months on installing a new system of payments for PLUS and the digi issue. Basically, in the past it hasn't been financially worth it for us publishers to charge small amounts of money (sub-£5) using the credit card system.

Now though, through PayPal, it is worth it.

Sometime in the next week or two a new system will be switched on that will allow users to buy individual issues of the digital version of AUTOSPORT. So if you're abroad, or can't get hold of the paper edition on a Thursday, you'll be able to catch up with the very latest issue, complete with its news and analysis, through the website.

You'll need to activate a PayPal account if you don't already have one, but this could actually be a good thing as it means whenever you buy something online using your account, you won't need to constantly re-input your card details, address, etc etc.

Digital issues work on all laptops / desktop computers, plus tablet devices, but if you have an iPad, please beware that you'll need to follow the instructions on http://www.autosport.com/digital/how-to-read-with-ibooks/ carefully before buying. In due course we will improve the offering here and make it more iPad friendly. But that's a project for another day!

Additionally, if you want to, you will be able to buy individual articles from PLUS. The idea here is to give people the chance to taste some of the features we run behind the paywall and hopefully subscribe... well, that's the idea anyway. Subscribers will, of course, always come first and a sub will always offer more value for money than buying individual articles.

You will also be able to create your own, personal, digital archive of content if you want to - so you can refer back to content you have bought at any stage in the future.

At the moment though we won't be offering the PayPal option for monthly and annual subscriptions. Unless, of course, the clamour for it becomes such that we have to! For bigger payments (more than £5) PayPal aren't nearly as competitive as our current payment partners.


In addition to all this, we're also currently working on some design changes for the site. Nothing radical, just a little 'spruce up' that should improve the user experience. We hope! More about this in due course.


Finally, development of the Android version of the app is well under way. We're hoping it should be released in Feb 2011, in time for F1 testing, but as is usually the case with these things there will undoubtedly be some technical headaches and bugs that will need to be eradicated before we release it. So it could be March time (these things have a habit of changing... either way I will keep you updated).


That's all for the moment. If you have any questions please feel free to ask and I'll answer them.

Best wishes

Jim Foster
AUTOSPORT.com digital product manager


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#2 jcbc3

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Posted 26 November 2010 - 11:05

Thanks for the advance warning.

Will you charge a fee for the android app? If yes, any idea how much?

#3 JimFosterAutosport

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Posted 30 November 2010 - 14:13

Yes, we almost certainly will be charging for it - most probably the same as the iPhone app, though a final business strategy has yet to be agreed upon.

I'm probably opening a can of worms now (!) but any feedback here is appreciated. In fact any feedback about anything we do is always welcome, positive or constructively critical.

Jim

#4 BullHead

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Posted 02 December 2010 - 23:18

Design changes.... more and bigger ads then...

#5 kar

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Posted 07 December 2010 - 15:56

I dunno if 89p is really that great value to view a single article.

I no longer find the subscription worth it, but there have been a few occasions where I've been interested in an single, particular article. Usually over time the article pops up somewhere, but I'd just as soon be able to pay a small amount and view it there and then.

I realise the price is what it is, and that's fair enough.

But I think it's too much for a single article. I think a 'daily' rate £1.99 or something, where you get access for to everything for 24 hrs (or whatever) might be okay though. If you think an annual subs are £46 odd now, that seems reasonable. I'd be interested, and would likely pay for content in this manner.

The other issue/disincentive with per-article payments, especially those at a relatively high price point, is that not all articles are equal. Some content is substantially more meaty/valuable than others. and such a high price point it can be hard to justify 'taking a gamble'. I would only consume content I know is 'gold'.

Edited by kar, 07 December 2010 - 15:57.


#6 Buttoneer

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Posted 08 December 2010 - 11:20

I'd love for old magazines to be available. Big project, I know, but there's a huge history of articles which I'm sure many people would be happy to pay for. Issues which report on significant motorsport evens of the past, for example, or only F1 season reviews/previews etc to start with.

#7 sylvesterthekat

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Posted 10 December 2010 - 23:57

Is there any chance you'll be adding a Facebook 'like' button to articles anytime soon? This would be convenient for those of us who want to link something on Facebook, and it would also potentially draw in new subscribers so probably would be well worth doing from Autosport's perspective.

Just a thought!



#8 pac

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Posted 11 December 2010 - 01:43

Jim, is there any development timeline you can share for the iPad project release?

Thanks

#9 JimFosterAutosport

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Posted 13 December 2010 - 17:32

Design changes.... more and bigger ads then...



BullHead - you're such a cynic! My first response is, 'if only', as we might make some money. But no, the design changes when they come will be to do with editorial layout, navigation, that kind of thing. At the moment there are absolutely no plans to change the MPU and leaderboard format for the ads.

Anyway, the ads pay for the content on the free part of the site. If you don't like 'em, spend some dosh and take out a sub!

Either way, hope the above answer allays your fears a little.

Best

Jim

#10 JimFosterAutosport

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Posted 13 December 2010 - 17:41

I dunno if 89p is really that great value to view a single article.

I no longer find the subscription worth it, but there have been a few occasions where I've been interested in an single, particular article. Usually over time the article pops up somewhere, but I'd just as soon be able to pay a small amount and view it there and then.

I realise the price is what it is, and that's fair enough.

But I think it's too much for a single article. I think a 'daily' rate £1.99 or something, where you get access for to everything for 24 hrs (or whatever) might be okay though. If you think an annual subs are £46 odd now, that seems reasonable. I'd be interested, and would likely pay for content in this manner.

The other issue/disincentive with per-article payments, especially those at a relatively high price point, is that not all articles are equal. Some content is substantially more meaty/valuable than others. and such a high price point it can be hard to justify 'taking a gamble'. I would only consume content I know is 'gold'.



Thanks for the feedback. The problem with charging less for an individual article is that we'd end up losing out on subs. We want to try and grow subs revenue, invest in the content behind the paywall and make the overall offering more worthwhile.

So the idea of letting people access individual features for 89p is to either:

* As in your case, let them access the occasional feature they might find of interest
* Try out some of the editorial behind the paywall, give a better feeling of what it's like
* If that's successful, to try and show people that a sub would be worth the investment of a fiver a month or £46 a year as you say

Interesting you mention the 'not all articles being equal' viewpoint. I expressed this too and suggested a staggered rate per wordage. So, you might pay 89p for a 2000 word piece, but 50p for a 1000 word piece. The problem with this is coding so that the system recognises what's what. That's major development resource that we don't have!

Another benefit of buying individual features is that you can create your individualised content archive via your account, which you can refer back to at any time - if that kind of thing floats your boat...

Anyway, that's great feedback - we really appreciate it! Thank you.

Best wishes

Jim

#11 JimFosterAutosport

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Posted 13 December 2010 - 17:44

I'd love for old magazines to be available. Big project, I know, but there's a huge history of articles which I'm sure many people would be happy to pay for. Issues which report on significant motorsport evens of the past, for example, or only F1 season reviews/previews etc to start with.



Thanks once more for the comment. We do have this idea in hand - and it is planned to eventually get round to digitally archive every issue of AUTOSPORT. Some of my colleagues on other brands have done or are doing this. There are plans afoot for Autocar to archive all its back issues, and Gramophone in the music field.

But as you point out, the cost of doing this - manually going through each issue since 1950 and scanning every page - is a costly procedure. not to mention writing the new section of the website to host all this.

So we think we would charge to access archived material, though at this point in time have no idea as to how much!

This isn't a project that will begin in 2011 either. Probably not anyway... but we'll let you know when it does, cause it will eventually.

Thanks again for your comment!

Jim

#12 JimFosterAutosport

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Posted 13 December 2010 - 17:45

Is there any chance you'll be adding a Facebook 'like' button to articles anytime soon? This would be convenient for those of us who want to link something on Facebook, and it would also potentially draw in new subscribers so probably would be well worth doing from Autosport's perspective.

Just a thought!



Cheers kat - yes, this will be happening in 2011. You're right in everything you say there and the team are on the case!

Thank you for suggesting it!

Jim

#13 JimFosterAutosport

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Posted 13 December 2010 - 17:48

Jim, is there any development timeline you can share for the iPad project release?

Thanks



Depends which iPad project you might be referring to. Most immediately we are looking at making the user experience with the digital issue on the iPad a whole lot better as, let's be honest, it's a bit naff at the moment.

However, our real focus is definitely iPhone and Android right now. As you probably know, the Android app remains in development with a release date scheduled for Feb some time (hopefully). The reason for this is that there are tens of millions more phones on the market than iPads, so it's bigger business for us.

But don't think we've forgotten about iPad users because we haven't!

Best wishes and thanks for taking the time to post

Jim

#14 Touti

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Posted 07 January 2011 - 18:07

There's an app in Android's Market called Autosport RSS, it costs 1$, does that come from Autosport ?

#15 Touti

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Posted 11 January 2011 - 12:50

I'll take that as a no.

#16 kosmic33

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Posted 12 January 2011 - 01:26

Thanks once more for the comment. We do have this idea in hand - and it is planned to eventually get round to digitally archive every issue of AUTOSPORT. Some of my colleagues on other brands have done or are doing this. There are plans afoot for Autocar to archive all its back issues, and Gramophone in the music field.

But as you point out, the cost of doing this - manually going through each issue since 1950 and scanning every page - is a costly procedure. not to mention writing the new section of the website to host all this.

So we think we would charge to access archived material, though at this point in time have no idea as to how much!

This isn't a project that will begin in 2011 either. Probably not anyway... but we'll let you know when it does, cause it will eventually.

Thanks again for your comment!

Jim

Speking of old articles. 5 or 6 years ago you had a 'best of nigel roebuck' available to read on the site.

Any chance you might repost it? :)

#17 bira

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Posted 12 January 2011 - 08:49

Speking of old articles. 5 or 6 years ago you had a 'best of nigel roebuck' available to read on the site.

Any chance you might repost it? :)


It's still on the website: http://www.autosport.com/roebuck/