Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Applied Market Information, a U.K. consultancy and B2B publisher, releases its four titles into Apple's Newsstand

During my time as a B2B publisher I've had quite a number of rather dull sounding magazines under my management: Roads and Bridges, Industrial Paint and Powder, Outdoor Power Equipment. As uninteresting as these titles may sound to outsiders, they were (and in some cases are) very much of interest to their readers and advertisers.
So when I see a group of magazines inside the App Store titled Compounding World, Pipe and Profile Extrusion, Film and Sheet Extrusion and Injection World my eyes don't gloss over they brighten with interest.

Published by Applied Market Information Ltd., a U.K. market research consultancy, and seen inside the App Store under the AMI Plastics name, these four titles are among the latest magazines to become available inside Apple's Newsstand.

While very few U.S. trade publishers have braved the new world of mobile or tablet publishing, publishers in Europe are more adventurous (is the U.K. still part of Europe? I'll have to check the latest news reports).

That doesn't mean, however that these four new apps have broken any new ground, unfortunately. All four are replica editions, and none of the four require that the readers downloading the apps either qualify to read the magazines or pay the publisher to access the content. All the apps are identically designed, and though there is a mechanism inside to register, the process is completely voluntary.

But there they are, nonetheless, inside the App Store and available to be downloaded.

Left: The splash page from the app for Compounding World; Right: the opening notices that pop-up when accessing Pipe and Profile Extrusion's new app.

So how can Newsstand work for a B2B publisher who normally only distributes their magazine to readers inside a particular industry?

I would suggest (again) that the way this can be done is to create an app that demands that the reader pay a subscription fee or else log-in as a current print subscriber.

The problem with this is that Apple has said that publisher's can't charge for a subscription inside the App Store if the product is available for free outside the store. But many B2B's already charge "non-qualified" readers to subscribe, only giving the magazine away for free to its qualified readers, so I don't believe this method is a violation of the developer rules (though if a publisher knows differently than I'd like to hear about it).

1 Comment:

Andy Beevers said...

Thanks for spotting and writing about our four new apps. As the publisher of the magazines, I can provide a bit more background information on their development.
All four titles were launched around three years ago as digital-only titles using page-turning platforms - initially Ceros and now Yudu. We have never printed or posted a single copy.
Existing print magazines for the plastics sector typically cover the whole industry, but focus on one country. Our idea was to provide global coverage, while focusing in-depth on particular processes - eg injection moulding or extrusion. This more accurately reflects the changing structure of the industry and the approach has been very well received by readers and advertisers alike.
Launching iPad/iPhone apps for the magazines was the next logical step - they were being requested by more and more readers. Android apps will follow next year. The cost of developing and launching the apps has been largely funded by our forward-thinking sponsors.
More and more people in our industry are using iPads for everyday business - they have suddenly become very visible at international exhibitions and conferences. However, there are very few apps that meet their information needs - search for 'manufacturing' or 'industry' in the app store and the choice is pretty limited.
The initial take-up of our apps has been extremely encouraging, and has taken us somewhat by surprise. We have only had a 'soft' launch this month with no proactive marketing - this will start in the new year.
We have been particularly pleased to see very large numbers of downloads in China (second only to the USA) as the country is hugely influential in the global plastics market.