Monday, December 20, 2010

Morning Brief: Holiday schedule; NY Post releases paid iPhone app; the holiday season and media launches

Light posting ahead as the holiday nears. Between travel and typical holiday activities, TNM will slow to crawl before just plain stopping for the holidays.
The New York Post launched a new mobile app this morning. The app costs $1.99, the same price as their iPad app. Unlike the tablet version, this is a one-time fee.

The thing I noticed right away was the carrier used in the screenshots: Gol Mobile -- a Brazilian copy. Very strange.

Nonetheless, the new iPhone app continues News Corp.'s philosophy of paid apps and paid content. The true test for the company is coming up, of course, when News Corp. launches The Daily. According to Peter Kafka of the WSJ, the tablet-only newspaper is set for launch on January 17.

Somewhere that date and the end of the month I would expect that Apple will hold a media event to announce new products including iPad2. Remember, Apple used to make a string of announcements as part of Steve Jobs's keynote address at MacWorld. But now Apple sticks to its own events. Whether Apple would want to time its own event around the launch of Murdoch's daily tablet newspaper is doubtful, though not completely out of the question.

Publishers generally don't make that big a deal over the Christmas holiday season -- that is, most publishers simply continue producing the same type of product (daily newspaper, for instance) and leave it to the editors whether the holidays should get a mention.

Many newspapers continue to produce special local Christmas sections, of course, hoping to attract local advertisers, possibly writing about special holiday events such as the one millionth performance of The Nutcracker. But rarely do publishers actually produce a new product for the holidays.

The app game, it seems to me, would be a good way to change this behavior. Many game manufacturers, as you would imagine, like to make sure their new games are available in time for Christmas. This is true even if the game manufacturer depends on a device -- like the XBox or Wii -- to be played.

I would think that a smart publisher might realize that a lot of new iPads and smartphones will be sold during the holidays and a large number of potential customers will be downloading apps after the holidays -- what a good time to launch a new app, a specialty app, or a sample content app, no?