Monday, March 28, 2011

The Daily demonstrates that newspapers, too, can do single issue special interest editions - on the iPad

Take a close look at any display of magazines on a newsstand and you will quickly see that the display is not totally made up of monthly magazines, but that quite a number of the titles are special issues, single editions produced to attract a subset of the audience. Better Homes and Gardens, Sunset are just a couple of the publications that have specializes in this type of single issue.
Newspaper, however, are not exactly known for their special editions. Sure, the special section has been the lifeblood of many newspapers, especially local newspapers, but these special sections are rarely sold to readers outside the main newspaper.

But tablet publishing allows nimble publishers to create and sell single issues with remarkable ease. A good example of this comes from The Daily, which released a commemorative app (can I trademark that phrase?) following the death of Elizabeth Taylor. The $1.99 app was released on Thursday, March 24, only one day following the announcement of her death.

(One question that immediately popped into my mind was "how did they get the app approved so fast?" A lot of developers have to be scratching their heads over that one.)
One has to assume that the News Corp. digital news property was prepared for launching such a product well in advance (and probably has worked directly with Apple concerning streamlining these products). Each special edition could experiment with price and format, and the creators can learn from each release.

These single editions are but one of the new revenue streams that open up thanks to mobile and tablet publishing. But they are only open to those companies that have developed internal teams for this kind of publishing. But for those publishers that have contracted this work out to third party developers, there are still some platforms that offer this kind of speed -- Kindle Singles, for instance.