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iPad Paid Media Apps: Still Not Hot, But Maybe That's Good

As this, among other things, has been the week of the iPad, I thought it was worth checking in again to see how the iPad and paid media apps -- particularly for beleaguered print -- were getting along over at the iTunes Store.

The answer is still not so well. in fact, worse than they were doing a few days ago ... but maybe that's OK.

The TIME magazine app has dropped from No. 16 to No. 26; Popular Science, from No. 20 to No. 36; GQ, from No. 66 to No. 76. No new apps from print media have risen up to take their place.

This gets me to wondering something, and it may not be what you think. Are there are a lot fence-sitters out there in print medialand? Are they using these properties as guinea pigs before coming up with their own strategies? Is TIME the test case for other Time Inc. properties? Did Conde Nast, based on its relatively successful experiment with a GQ iPhone app -- decide it would be the company's iPad trial balloon?

If so, this is actually one smart thing print has done lately -- not succumbing to the pressure of getting something out onto the iPad app market right away. Even in the early offing, a few things are becoming clear -- such as the fact that a lot of people don't want to be buying a $4.99 per issue price for the iPad version of TIME, or $18 per month for The Wall Street Journal. These apps, and ones yet to come on the market, can learn something from this. I expect prices be cut to some magic number where people barely even think before they download.

Actually, even if some consumers have been hard on paid media apps about their price points, the real chumps at the iPad app store are the ones who are giving it away, and that means you, USA Today (No. 7) and a few others. Since it is generally agreed upon that at some point newspapers have to start charging, why wouldn't the dawn of a new device be that time? I don't get it.

(BTW, Apple has said that there were one million app downloads on the first day; 3.5 million as of today.)

Previous coverage of the iPad at BNET Media: