Sky News’ £4.99 iPad Fee Aims To Drive Satellite Subscriptions

Sky News, which had said it would introduce charges when it launched its iPad app back in March, has confirmed the price at £4.99 per month.

The fees will go through iTunes Store as an auto-renewing subscription, hence Apple (NSDQ: AAPL) will keep 30 percent.

At that price (in fact, probably at any price), Sky is likely about to find most people heading for the hills. After all, Sky News is free on TV.

But this charging decision is likely not designed to wring paltry £4.99 income out of piffling iPad subscriptions. Just as with BSkyB’s Sky Go iPad app, which gives free out-of-home streams to Sky Sports subscribers, it is designed to drive people to buy a core Sky TV subscription.

App access will continue to be free for those users who can authenticate with it by means of their Sky ID. This is a cross-platform strategy, held together by the master TV account.

What’s strange is that, on TV, Sky News is an entirely free proposition – it goes out free-to-air on Freeview. The channel also remains free on and through some syndication sites like, the legality of which is currently going through courts.

But iOS is not Freeview, and Sky is taking the new device opportunity to try driving people to its core proposition.

The Sky News TV stream is great, but the app’s UI for accompanying text and graphics is confusing.