Saturday, April 24, 2010

Week in Review

Short reads for a Saturday morning:

• This week was all about newspaper firms reporting Q1 earnings, and the spin that usually accompanies the results. The New York Times Company, McClatchy, Media General, Gannett, Lee Enterprises and Journal Communications all reported similar earnings: net income up thanks to cost cutting, print revenue continued to decline, but at a slower pace than last year.

Publications like B2B Editor & Publisher took the spin and ran with it, demonstrating once again why many trade publications have lost credibility.
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• I didn't review the Time Magazine app when it first came out mainly because it is wasn't exactly revolutionary. But three weeks after the launch of the iPad, and the iPad app store, it is obvious that Time's strategy of releasing a new app every week is paying dividends: the app is consistently in the Top 20 of paid news apps (even though each week's app is tracked individually). Despite the uproar over charging $4.99 for the app (that is, giving no discount off the cover price for the tablet version), the app is doing very well and proving to be a very smart marketing move.

• Two posts revolved around Amazon and the Kindle this week.  The first one talked about my conclusion that the iPad will be a boon for Amazon's Kindle store as Apple iPad users discover that they can continue to buy their books from Amazon and enjoy them on their iPads. I did just that when purchasing Alan Brinkley's new biography of Time Magazine founder Henry R. Luce, The Publisher.  My second post reported on Amazon's Q1 earnings: sales up 46 percent, profit up 62 percent.
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• Four of RBI's 23 closed magazines got new life when Brian Ceraolo formed a new company, Peerless Media, to take back the Supply Chain Group. The new company will now take over the titles Logistics Management, Modern Materials Handling, Supply Chain Management Review and Material Handling Product News.

So much for the idea that Reed didn't want to sell the titles, huh?

• Blue Toad released a load of iPad apps for Modern Luxury this week -- eight on Thursday and another on Friday (they were actually released to Apple earlier, of course, but this is why they made their appearance in the iTunes store).  The apps are simple flip books, without additional new content added to the issues (like audio and video, for instance), but they are easy to use and so far appear not to be as "buggy" as apps released by some other digital publishing vendors.

We still await the first awe-inspiring iPad magazine app, however.

• Flyp did not make into the tablet era, apparently. Flyp Media announced that due to a lack of funding, and unable to survive off of its advertising base, it is shuttering its flip book, web-only magazine.

The news brought back memories of Balthaser Studios, and their pioneering first web site. The Shockwave animated website premiered in 1999. This being the age of dial-up, Balthaser's animated site would take forever to load, then would explode on the screen, shocking the uninitiated, and proudly proclaiming that this was the future of the Internet. It wasn't. And Macromedia was acquired by Adobe and the rest is history, as they say. The web may be filled with Flash videos and animations, but by-and-large, the web is not the kind of place envisioned by Balthaser back in '99. But for a rush of nostalgia, go visit the original Balthaser Studios website.

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