Amazon’s Jeff Bezos has already started making his mark at The Washington Post as the newspaper’s new owner.
First, he tackled costs, by slashing employees’ retirement benefits, and now, he’s trying to drum up what others have found difficult in this digital age: Revenue.
BusinessWeek’s Brad Stone has learned that for the past few months the Post has been working on building a new mobile application that will come pre-installed on Amazon’s new Fire tablet. The application, which is set to launch later this fall, offers a curated selection of news and photographs that will be presented in a magazine style that’s appropriate for an 8.9-inch screen.
At first, the app will be free, but eventually it will be available on all devices — including the iPad and competing Android tablets, for a monthly fee.
The app marks the first time that Jeff Bezos is creating ties between Amazon and the Post, and it will clearly help the Beltway’s hometown paper gain national scale and distribution that’s difficult with a printed product.
Such collaborations between the paper and Amazon had worried critics in the past. For instance, a dust-up occurred this summer when The Post inadvertently started to insert “Buy it Now” buttons into its editorial copy, including book reviews. The newspaper claimed it was a mistake and that the links should have been in the right-hand column, as they had been for years.
Still, while that offended some readers, others have called for tighter integration between papers and Amazon. Even before Bezos bought the post, Nicholas Carlson at Business Insider calculated it would cost half as much to send every The New York Times subscriber a Kindle than it costs to print the paper.