Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Schwabische Zeitung creates a native iPad app for its print newspaper; daily editions will be available the evening before the morning print edition hits the street

Every day I talk to people in the media business who are dealing with the transition to digital publishing platforms such as tablets. Often I get the feeling that some of these managers feel like New Media publishing is like a trip to the dentist, something that is sometimes necessary, but not very enjoyable. And then, occasionally one talks to an enthusiastic New Media professional who looks at the present era in such a positive light that it is hard not to get swept up in their excitement.
I haven't spoken to the publishing team over at the German newspaper Schwäbische Zeitung but the picture of the team holding up their iPads kind of reveals the general positive feeling the team appears to have about creating their first tablet edition.

Schwäbische Zeitung is a free download that will eventually give readers access to daily editions late in the evening, before the morning's print edition appears. For now, however, the only edition available is a free sample edition. Eventually readers will be able to buy individual editions for 0.79 € per day.

(It is possible that the app's appearance in the App Store caught the publishing team by surprise, that certainly happens a lot. But since the app was released yesterday I would expect the first paid issues to be available as soon as tonight – I'll be sure to check.)

The digital edition currently available is only 28 pages in size and contains one ad which contains some embedded video (see above right). The navigation is simple, sticking strictly to swiping rather then a mix of swiping and scrolling – in this regard it is very much like the New York Times app. But the overall look reminds you a little of The Daily in that articles take up a full page or two, much more like a magazine than a newspaper.

The newspaper's app landing page on its website states clearly that the publisher of this iPad edition sees this as a separate, if related product:
Eine eigene, multimediale Zeitung nur fürs iPad - das ist die Idee hinter der App der Schwäbischen Zeitung, die heute erstmals im App Store erhältlich ist.

A separate, multimedia newspaper just for the iPad – that's the idea behind the app for the Schwäbische Zeitung, which is available for the first time today in the App Store. – Google Translation.
Although I don't speak German, and know next to nothing about the newspaper, I will be curious to see how they handle daily editions.

1 Comment:

Patrik Staebler said...

Dear Douglas,

I stumbled across your post the other day and to be honest: I was quite surprised that somebody on the other side of the globe is taking interest in our App ( I am one the guys on the picture happily holding his iPad).

But what even surprised me more was your blog entry, as you totally got the intention of our app - although you don't speak german. That is: We want to offer our readers an easy-to-handle app with regional news that is not simply a pdf of our newspaper, but a separate product.

Just two quick notes: Firstly, you are totally right with your supposition, that the appearance of our app in the App Store caught us somehow by surprise. But the day after that, we started with our daily edition.

Secondly, you write that our edition is 28 pages in size, which is only half the truth. The thing is: Our edition actually contains two parts: On the one hand we have the most important international, national as well as those regional news, that we believe are of interest in our whole distribution area (roughly 25-30 articles). On the other hand though, our app also contains a lot more local news, which might not have appeared on your iPad. The reason for that is, that those are news-on-demand, so to say. Because in our app, you find a menu, where you can individually choose, which towns and villages in our distribution area are of interest to you (there are more than 40 categories). And after that, you get all the news from these areas on your iPad in addition to the first mentioned articles. So for example, the app of yesterday contained an overall of 150 articles - if you choose to read all categories.

Anyway, cheers for your commendation (at least I received it that way). And if you have any further questions or suggestions, fell free to write me a mail to

Patrik Staebler