The two newspaper companies which are being operated under the umbrella company Digital First Media, Journal Register Company and MediaNews Group, today have launched a series of new stand-alone iPad apps through the app developer Spreed.
New apps for the Journal Register Company are The Oakland Press for iPad, The Saratogian for iPad and Daily Freeman for iPad. A fourth app, Macomb Daily for iPad, had launch earlier.
Recently Journal Register Company filed for bankruptcy protection for the second time in three years. Looking at these new tablet apps, which do not require a paid subscription, and contain no advertising, it is hard to see how these apps will help the company's bottom line. The outsourcing of app development adds costs but offers little upside when you ask nothing back from either readers or advertisers.
Looking at the direction the newspapers operating as Digital First Media are heading it is easy to be completely cynical about the future of the newspaper industry. But many journalism sites still have a soft spot for the company and continue to sing sad songs whenever they hear of more layoffs or another financial setback.
But a look inside the App Store shows zero apps that have a sustainable business model, something that might be useful if the company truly is serious about surviving. Being committed to digital media does not mean not having respect for the bottom line - really.