Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Morning Brief: The Guardian is ready for their screen test; Encyclopaedia Britannica launches its own iPad app with limited free content, full access for $1.99 per month

I can just imagine Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger saying "All right, Mr. DeMille, I'm ready for my close-up." It's a scary thought, I know. But The Guardian is apparently attempting to get ready for the time when its products, most likely its website, is viewed on bigger displays – specifically, televisions.

You can view their early work here.
The experiment is clear recognition that publishing is finally coming to the television, something that news organizations have been working on since at least the '80s. The old company Silent Radio, if you recall, used to scroll a new ticker on LED displays in bars, restaurants and other businesses with the idea that people wanted to constantly stay informed.

I think the examples found on The Guardian site are equally primitive in that they reflect the belief that users will simply want their websites optimized for their HDTVs – some will, but my guess is that, like all digital content, the evolution will be towards more interactive, animated content versus simple text and pictures.

I attended the American Business Media Executive Forum yesterday – a big thank you to the folks at the ABM. Several new posts will result from the meeting including interviews with Mike Haney from Mag+ and another with Clark Pettit, President and CEO of the ABM.

While the forum's theme centered on Content Marketing, the issue of digital was never far from the center of the discussions. Since it has been about two years since I've attended an ABM meeting, one thing that I noticed in my conversations with individuals at the event was that the digital divide seems to be geting wider, not smaller.

Several companies mentioned impressive mobile app initiatives, while personal conversations with several publishers and industry leaders showed a shocking lack of knowledge of even the rudimentary elements of app creation (like how to become a developer and submit an app). No doubt the association's new president will have to take a go slow approach in this area, but there is no doubt that Pettit has the chops to handle the digital side of things.

Look for more B2B content throughout the week.

One of the early CD-ROM based products that were introduced for PCs was the digital encyclopedia. For many parents, the chance to buy an encyclopedia for their kids justified the expense of buying an early PC.

Now we are in the mobile and tablet era of digital media and so, not unexpectedly, Encyclopaedia Britannica, Inc. announced today that it had launched an app version of its product.

The app, simply called Encyclopædia Britannica, is a free app for the iPad. Users can access limited content for free – 100 articles plus the first 100 words of each article; or they can pay a subscription fee of $1.99 for full content. Current subscribers to, who, by the way, pay $69.95 a year for access, can log-in to their accounts to access the content for free.

"For more than two centuries, Britannica has partnered with former U.S. and international presidents, Nobel Laureates, scientists and other historical figures to provide people with the information they seek. Now that world-class information is available on a fast, mobile platform," said Greg Barlow, Encyclopaedia Britannica's senior vice president and chief marketing officer.

Paragon Software currently offers an Android version of the Britannica Concise Encyclopedia 2011 for $19.95, as well as a Spanish language version for that platform, as well.