According to a report in Bloomberg Businessweek, the app was developed by a group inside the Post called Project Rainbow. The project, led by Kerry Lauerman, will offer a curated selection of news and photographs. The app is currently free for download now on all larger tablets. As with WaPo’s other digital offerings, subscription rates will eventually kick in. The new Fire tablets will already have the app installed.
Snapping up the paper seemed a bizarre move over a year ago. With lagging interest in print news, WaPo’s own figures admitted a 55 percent profit loss just before the sale. So plans were murky at best as to what exactly Bezos would do with it. The Amazon CEO’s infusion of cash and new hires (over 100 in all) have breathed new life into the legendary paper. The newspaper had an increase of 63 percent in readership from a year before this last July, according to the Times.
“Reporters need to know that they will be supported, that their colleagues aren’t going to disappear and that they can do their job without being worried all the time about losing it. Optimism, like negativity, can be infectious,” executive editor of the Washington Post, Marty Baron told the New York Times.
There’s already an app for iPhone+iPod Touch, Android and iPad, as well as the mobile web. All of those already offer a pretty robust selection of free select content from the print version of the paper, as well as a subscription format. Digital subscriptions to content on the web start at $14.99.
Kindle offers other major newspaper apps such as USA Today and the New York Times for free on all Kindle Fire tablets.