Ongo is something new for news consumers. It just launched on the Web this week and has just been released for the iPad late this afternoon.
It's a collaboration between The New York Times, the Washington Post, USA Today and others to provide a subscription news service for US$6.99 a month. The aim is to provide readers with the best of those papers and other media outlets that join up. They already have the Financial Times and newspapers from Boston, Charlotte, Louisville, Detroit, Des Moines, Indianapolis, Kansas City and Miami on board, among others. Some of the content providers provide complete access. Other content is curated. Some content is an additional $0.99 a month, but other publications can cost up to $14.99, which is just a tad pricey.
You can sign up for a free day pass or get 30 days free if you want to test drive the concept. I tried the web version on my iPad, and generally it worked well just using Safari. You can change the size of the text, save and share stories and search for topics. I had some trouble launching stories, as the app sometimes failed to register a finger tap.
Ongo will be in competition with Rupert Murdoch's new publication, The Daily, which is due this month at almost half the price. Ongo is ad-free, and it will be interesting to see if people are willing to pay for news that is generally free on the Web. The browser interface is intuitive and a nice environment to read in, but ultimately the consumer will decide how it all shakes out. We'll review the iPad app soon.