CBS' 60 Minutes for iPad App $4.99: Will Viewers Pay?

Newspapers that take their normally for-fee content behind paywalls regularly get critized by their readers. Magazine publishers that charge the same price for their paper and electronic iPad issues get harsh words thrown at them and low app ratings. So, what happens when a free over the airwaves news program, CBS’ 60 Minutes, produces an iPad app that charges $4.99 for its normally free content? Why, it gets a 5-star average customer rating (admitedly with only 9 ratings so far).

America’s Number-One News Program Now Available on iPad (CBS press release)

60 Minutes for iPad (iTunes App Store)

The interesting trick CBS pulled off is, I think, because they provide a feature not available on TV and desirable by the show’s fans: 60 Minutes’ long and varied archive of news stories.

iPad users of the app will also be able to search 60 MINUTES’ archive for stories from the present or past seasons and be able to browse segments by categories such as Newsmakers, Politics, Health & Science, Business, Sports, and Entertainment. The content is also searchable by correspondent name.

I doubt if the app will be able to maintain its 5-star average rating. But, other content producers would do well to follow their example of providing additional content to justify the cost of the app (or a subscription). I’m giving some thought about handing over $4.99 myself for this app.