Wires become books, paid becomes free for Queen’s Jubilee

Some UK publishers are trying their hands at new digital experiences to milk the sixtieth anniversary of Queen Elizabeth II’s accession to the throne this weekend.

  • The Press Association newswire has repackaged 250 of its archive photographs in to its first ever ebook, for iPad, iPhone and iPod through iBookstore. Apple has bundled together all iOS Jubilee fodder.
  • News Corp’s The Times and Sunday Times are turning their subscriber-only websites free for Saturday and Sunday, when they will run live updates from Jubilee celebrations, videos and interactives including a pageant boat spotter.

Asked if its ebook meant more in the pipeline, the Association told paidContent: “Although we are always open to new opportunities for using our content, this book is more of a one-off offering to celebrate the Jubilee.”

The Times is not dropping its fees, introduced in mid-2010, just out of the goodness of its heart or out of national spirit. This is a marketing exercise. The paper is leveraging the national event to try making its digital subscriptions more attractive…

It has given away 6,000 free tickets for a Sunday festival to its subscribers, of which there were 130,751 in April. And it has invited 80 other subscribers to a special boat that will be sailing in a Thames pageant this weekend.

Whether lowering the web wall for the Jubilee may boost The Times’ digital subscriptions remains to be seen – many Brits will be offline over the long weekend, which includes public holidays on Monday and Tuesday.

WSJ.com regularly goes free for a day as a taster marketing exercise.