The Huffington Post has stopped charging for its iPad magazine Huffington.
The magazine, which launched to much fanfare in June, originally cost 99 cents, with subscription fees of $1.99 a month or $19.99 a year.
But with eight issues and reportedly 115,000 downloads of the app, AOL appears to be second-guessing readers' willingness to pay for subscriptions, Capital New York's Joe Pompeo wrote.
It's also unclear how many of the down loaders paid for an issue — the first month was free.
"In the end, we felt that asking people to pay for the magazine was inconsistent with The Huffington Post itself, which has never charged for content," Rhoades Alderson, a Huffington Post spokesman, said in a statement to TheWrap. "As with everything we do at HuffPost, we launch and then iterate. This was an iteration on that basis."
Jeff Sonderman at Poynter noted that, despite some analyses that finger the inability to aggregate from the single-source app as the culprit for slashing the subscription fee, the real issue is that it's difficult to gauge what content readers are willing to pay for.
"We know that tablets are extremely useful for news distribution — 84 percent of iPad owners use them to keep up with news," he wrote. "But only 39 percent of tablet users have paid for a digital magazine issue or subscription, and only 15 percent have paid for a digital newspaper subscription. So for now, The Huffington Post and others see a free product supported by ads as the best way to proceed."
The move comes days after Rupert Murdoch's tablet-only venture, The Daily, laid off a third of its editorial staff as the publication struggles to attract enough subscribers to turn a profit.