Tuesday, January 25, 2011

955 Dreams: a start-up that can teach old media a few lessons about the potential of tablet publishing

With all the content freely available to newspaper and magazine publishers, you would think that these media companies would be in the best position to launch new tablet and mobile products into the iTunes App Store. But as I predicted a year ago, the most imaginative new media products being produced are coming from independent developers who feel comfortable with the new platforms, and take content where they can get it.
A good example of this comes from 955 Dreams, a Mountain View-based start-up, and their first released app The History of Jazz - an interactive timeline.

This is the first in series of music apps that the developers say they will release for the iPad. At $9.99, it priced more like a book app than a media app, but the tablet product is stuffed with lots of features and content -- the much of it freely available online. Despite the price, those who have downloaded the app have rewarded the effort with overwhelmingly good reviews. So much for the idea that price is everything.

By taking existing content and configuring it into a new interactive product, the developers here have created an exciting new product. The lesson, of course, being that rather than being obsessed with duplicating their existing print and web products by creating replica editions, publishers with a wealth of content at their disposal have the potential to create lots of new products for the mobile and tablet market -- if they become developers.

I won't bother to review the app since it has already garnered plenty of press, but if you are interested in reading more here are some links: The Telegraph: iPad app of the week, or the WSJ's take on the app. The developers have created a very good website in support of their app: a modest press packet, links to reviews, and demo videos.

Here is one of the video demos that can be found on the 955 Dreams website: