Saturday, May 15, 2010

Week in Review

Short reads on a Saturday morning:

• If you were heavily in the stock market I am sure you are glad this week is over. The market didn't suffer a ten minute meltdown like last week, but it wasn't exactly an encouraging week.

• Although it did not seem to make much othis splash, but this week was the launch of the Vanity Fair iPad app – a step forward by Condé Nast in adapting their magazines to the tablet platform.
The app is basically two magazines in one: the landscape mode is an almost exact copy of the print version; while the portrait mode makes changes in design to suit the new platform. Advertisers also have embedded video and links that are missing from the landscape mode.

Editorially, I will admit that generally I find Vanity Fair hit-or-miss, but I would rate this app as the number one stand-alone magazine app so far released. Is Wired next?
• The Financial Times launched its iPad app on Friday afternoon. A full review will appear here first thing Monday morning. Like their iPhone app, the iPad app is free to download but will require a subscription to access content. Now the good news: access to content will be free until the end of July as the FT have lined up a single sponsor: Hublot. Users can download the current edition for easy offline viewing, or press a button and go back to the live edition. First impression? Looks great.

• Staying on topic: I spoke to photographer/publisher Timothy Paul Moore about the iPad app he developed for his indie zine Letter to Jane. As far as I can tell, Moore's iPad app is the first for a small, independent magazine. It definitely takes a minimalist approach, but it works and its online -- selling for 99 cents in iTunes. Go support citizen publishing!

• Executive editor Bill Keller confirmed on Thursday that the New York Times will be instituting its metered paywall for online readers in January. Speaking at the Foreign Press Association, Keller did not give any hints at pricing, or what the threshold would be for online readers -- that is, when they would have to start paying -- but the Times has given themselves plenty of time to work out those details.

• On Monday I posted my interview with Carll Tucker, founder and publisher at Main Street Connect, a group of community online news sites that wants to expand nationally from its current core of local sites in Fairfield County, Connecticut. MSC will continue to increase the number of sites of its owner/operating group in the NYC DMA, but will use an affiliate model to launch additional groups of sites around the country.

Unlike AOL-owned Patch, which is funding their expansion internally, and is not emphasizing (or apparently not emphasizing) monetization, MSC hopes to train and lead their affiliates in such a way that they will be able to generate significant revenue through ad sales right away.