Friday, November 18, 2011

Two new research studies show the growth and fragmentation of the digital publishing market

Two new research reports issued this week offer publishers some valuable information that can be used to construct their mobile and tablet publishing strategies.

comScore issued a report entitled Digital Omnivores: How Tablets, Smartphones and Connected Devices are Changing U.S. Digital Media Consumption Habits which explores "the increasingly fragmented digital media landscape shaped by the widespread adoption of smartphones and entry of tablets and other web-enabled connected devices."

Of particular interest would be comScores' own market share analysis which shows Apple's iOS still dominating web traffic from mobile and tablet devices, despite the growth in sales of Android powered smartphones. Part of the reason for this, of course, is the continued dominance of the iPad in the tablet market.

comScore then gives publishers some advice:

While a multi-platform environment may seem chaotic, complex and difficult to navigate, it is actually presenting opportunities never before thought possible. Each platform represents a unique canvas for media engagement, which provides new opportunities for creativity in advertising. Brands that carry their message effectively across these media touchpoints are best positioned to create long term loyalty and high engagement with their audiences.

GfK MRI's study of magazine readers I find a bit confusing and poorly expressed. The study, released yesterday, states that the total grow magazine audience worldwide is now at 1.580 billion, with just over 80 percent of readers still reading their magazines only in their print versions.

The report also claims, though, that 11 percent of readers are reading their publications only in their digital form. GfK MRI throws out the term "digital-only" rather loosely (not to mention the term "exposure".)

"A profile of digital-only magazine readers shows they are more likely to be well-educated, affluent young men, a demographic group much sought after by marketers," the announcement for the study states.

But the report is not referring to the magazines but to the readers; that is, readers who are reading magazines only in their digital versions.

While 11 percent is an impressive number, the report lumps into digital all electronic devices such as desktop computers, laptop computers, tablets, eReaders and smartphones. It would be interesting to see the detailed breakout of these various devices.

As you can see by the chart above, readers of digital magazines continue to skew male and young – probably no surprise, but without a breakdown by device it is hard to know if these male readers are coming in from eReaders, tablets or from personal computers.

My guess is that tablet readers continue to skew male, while ereaders skew female – and since most ereaders are not providing attractive forms of digital magazines these female readers are tending to read books more often on their devices rather than magazines. Do I have proof of this? No, which is why we need better studies.

The Guardian puts down roots in the U.S. and stakes its claim: OWS story provides contrast to rest of NYC media

It might come as a shocking idea to some newspaper readers and some journalists that there are those out there who don't see the New York Times as a friend of liberals and progressives. Despite being seen by some as the poster child for "the liberal media", the NYT has in the past decade supported the Iraq War, and taken other positions that have not sat well with the left.

No wonder then that The Guardian, who again are attempting to enter the U.S. market, has chosen to use the current Occupy Wall Street movement as a point of differentiation with the NYT. Yesterday the British owned website ran a live blog on the protests that took place around the Stock Exchange and then at Foley Park, leading to the Brooklyn Bridge.
In many cities around the U.S., protesters were on the streets yesterday: in addition to NYC, protests and arrests occurred in Boston, Philadelphia, St. Louis, Chicago, Milwaukee, Seattle, San Francisco, etc. In NYC, the major papers lined up solidly behind Mayor Bloomberg with both the the Post and Daily News running editorials praising the ousting of protesters from Zuccotti Park.

But the NYT tried to have it both ways with an embarrassing editorial that supported the actions of the mayor's office while also wondering if "there was a better, less-disruptive way to get demonstrators to deal with problems cited by the city and the park’s owner, Brookfield Office Properties."

Enter The Guardian, which has clearly seen the OWS protests as a way of contrasting sharply with its more established competitors. For past two days the story has been the website's lead story, with the picture of the bloodied protester prominently displayed.

Interestingly, the story not considered the lead in the U.K. version of The Guardian. In the same position of the the OWS story in the U.S. edition is now an "Interactive Christmas gift guide". Rarely have the two websites differed so starkly since the establishment of the U.S. news site.

Another interesting contrast is the total lack of comments in the U.S. edition. (Are they completely turned off in the U.E. edition? It looks that way. Only stories that point back to the U.K. site seem to have comments attached to them.)

While the story about London protests has almost 500 comments on it as of the time I am writing this post, the U.S. edition of the Guardian apparently does not allow for comments.

The editors of the U.S. website for The Guardian are obviously still experimenting: is the site an extension of the U.K site and aimed at expats in the U.S., or aimed squarely at an American audience? (Many of the stories on the U.S. edition, when clicked, will lead the reader to the U.K. url where the stories originated.)

As for the NYT, they are clearly throwing resources at the OWS story as evidenced by the articles and photo galleries found on the website. But their editorial choices of burying the story inside are speaking volumes about their editorial position vis a vis the protesters. At a time when the NYT is promoting its digital offerings, it is ironic, I suppose, that they now face a new digital-only competitor, and one with a strong inclination to keep their offerings free of charge. It will be interesting to see if The Guardian influences editorial choices at the NYT, or whether they will consider the new competitor merely an annoyance.

Most journalists don't need to be told that when it comes to things like protests, social media has them at a distinct disadvantage. Yesterday's protests around the country were a great example of how social media such as Twitter and Facebook are a more efficient way of distributing information than any kind of traditional media can be – even news websites.

The UStream video channel for TheOther99 (at right), as an example, streamed live video (one shaky camera) throughout the afternoon, gather upwards of 25,000 viewers at any given time.

Even The Guardian's live blog seemed to terribly insufficient, posting stories about once every half hour, it seemed that the mainstream media was merely another consumer of the news coming from those on the ground reporting using social media.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

More media apps: The Daily releases 2nd 'special section' in time for the holiday shopping season; Blue Toad moves mag apps such as 'San Francisco' into Newsstand

Let's do a mind experiment: imagine that it is 2006 and you are a ferocious consumer of magazines or other types periodicals. If you want to find out what's new out there you'd have to talk a trip to your nearest newsstand. If you were a publisher you know the headaches involved in launches, right?

But today getting an app into the App Store or the Android Market, while not without some challenges, can be accomplished relatively easily and quickly. I only mention this simply as a reminder of how different the world is looking for publishing, and how fast we've moved into this new world, one that didn't exist, really, before mid-2008.

Back in my newspaper days the special section calendar was always jammed with seasonal sections. Thanksgiving meant the first of a series of gift giving guides. No matter what we might say about the editorial value of these sections, we really knew that these special sections were our one opportunity to pry a few ad dollars out of local retailers who otherwise were hesitant to do any form of newspaper advertising.

The Daily, News Corp.'s tablet-only news product, has released its second "special section". The first involved the new pro football season. Their second is called Gadget Guide, and is essentially a seasonal gift guide, though that features some pretty expensive items.
From the Technology Editors of The Daily comes The Gift and Gadget Guide, a meticulously curated collection of the finest consumer electronics, apps, games, and high-tech toys to be released in 2011. With a nod to retro futurism, The Gift and Gadget Guide showcases 200 products with stunning photography, gorgeous design, and snappy writing. Every item and product can be purchased directly from the app or shared with friends. And we guarantee there’s something in here for everyone’s wish list from a $20 flash drive to a $186,000 sports car. From gadgets you never knew existed to other toys you just can’t live without, The Daily’s Gift and Gadget Guide is your one stop shop for this holiday season and beyond. – App Description
Like the NYT, which this week released a fashion app called NYT The Collection, this app is doing what newspaper publishers have been doing for years, producing special themed products to capture incremental ad dollars or to serve a reader niche.

The lesson is crystal clear: if you are capable of producing apps in-house you can produce these specialty products; if can not, or have farmed out this task, you are not in the game.

Yesterday I mentioned in a post that Apple's Newsstand had punched it way through the 500 mark, thanks mostly to a bunch of replica editions released by the vendor community.

One day later the number of publications inside of the U.S. version of Newsstand is at 546.

BlueToad, a developer of replica edition apps, has released five new apps that readers will be able to find inside Newsstand for their client Modern Luxury. These include San Francisco Magazine, Manhattan, CS (which stands for Chicago Style), Atlantan, and Angeleno.

The apps and their content are free, and all can be found under the name of the developer, BlueToad, not the name of the publisher. Readers are immediately invited to subscribe for free inside the app when they first open them up.

The apps include text versions of the stories found inside the replica editions – sort of like printing a magazine using 4 pt type, then including a magnifying glass to help people read them. The problem of readability could be solved by simply creating an app with fonts appropriate to the medium to begin with, but I guess I'm beating a dead horse on this issue, right?

Retweet: Anniversary of Athens Polytechnic student uprising puts focus back on Greece for a day

The media world's attention has swiftly changed its focus from Greece to Italy. Only a couple of weeks ago the media watched as the markets swooned as investors feared that Greece would default on its debt obligations.

But a new bailout package, combined with a change of prime minister and the news from Italy has al but kept Greece out of the headlines this past week or so.

This week, however, is the 38th anniversary of the student uprisings at the National Technical University of Athens, known as Athens Polytechnic. Greece was in the sixth year of dictatorship by a military junta when, on November 14, 1973, students went on strike in protest against the regime. On November 17th the government sent a tank into the university to break up the protests. Although no students were killed in the incident, 24 others were killed outside of the Athens Polytechnic campus.

Today, there are marches in Greece commemorating the events that took place 38 years ago. George Gilson, writing the Press Watch column for the Athens News writes about how many Greek citizens view current events influenced by the past.
Today, a large segment of the press and Greek people view the dictatorship of the markets and German hegemony in Europe as an equally great threat to liberty. The tanks have simply been replaced by financial instruments with greater precision and firepower.

Even the most peremptory glance at the Greek and international press will show that a critical mass of citizens are concerned that democracy is in retreat, both on the national and European level.
It is easy for the media to move on – both Greece and Italy now have governments run by technocrats with backgrounds in the financial community – but on the ground the issues have not changed.

Cygnus Business Media launches first tablet edition for Firehouse Magazine; B2B app lacks Newsstand support

Cygnus Business Media continues to be one of the few B2B media firms in the U.S. launching tablet editions for their properties. The company currently has four apps available for the iPad, and one mobile app in support of its Firehouse Expo (an event held in Baltimore earlier this summer).
The newest app, released on November 14, is Firehouse Magazine. Firehouse is a monthly controlled circulation trade magazine with a BPA audit showing a little more than 83,000 in circulation. The magazine has long been an important title for Cygnus.

The new app is free to download and creates a library where readers can download the issues. As of today the sole issue available to download is November. That issue weighs in at 243 MB due not so much to lots of rich media but to having layouts in both portrait and landscape.

The tablet edition for Firehouse does not try and duplicate the advertising from the magazine, instead it is sponsored by Rosenbauer and Firehouse Software. This approach is best, in my opinion, as it limits the amount of artwork needed and provides prototype issues that later can be sold by the staff – sort of like a print magazine launch.

"The Firehouse iPad App is the perfect platform to extend and tailor the Firehouse brand for a new audience of iPad readers," Patty Maroder, Publisher of Firehouse, said in the company's announcement for the app. "In the coming months, we will be adding more content, including training videos, well as other important content pieces that you have come to expect from Firehouse."

Cygnus is one of the few mid-sized publishers that has embraced native app creation. The November issue utilizes the standard navigation strategy of scrolling to reach pages within an article and swiping to move from article to article (see below right).

On the page following the cover (see below left) readers are invited to register with the magazine inorder to be notified of upcoming issues. The app also has push notifications which can accomplish the same thing. The registration page is a mini-qualification form of sorts. Unlike print, where the publisher can reject a reader as being "unqualified" to receive the print magazine, this mechanism won't lead to rejections, but it will allow the publisher to know how many of its new tablet magazine readers would meet its qualification requirements.

The app does not have Newsstand support, though they could choose to go in this direction later. As I written before, one strategy that a B2B can employ is to include Newsstand support, but to charge a subscription fee. The magazine app can then allow current print or digital subscribers to log-in to use the app for free. These current subscribers would be your qualified readers.

This method is currently standard practice in print: qualified readers get the print magazine for free, while other readers can buy a subscription if the magazine doesn't consider them a qualified reader.

Morning Brief: OWS protesters turn to iPhone app to coordinate demonstrations; an uncomfortable handshake

An interesting post on called my attention to an app from the developer Hollr.

Called simply GO HD, the app allows users to use photo and video to tag events to your GPS location. It is sort of a "here I am" app.

The post, written by Janet Maragioglio, tells of the apps use by Occupy Wall Street protesters to coordinate demonstrations.

"What separates Go from other social media sharing apps, however, is its ability to hide a poster's name and identity," writes Maragioglio. "Unlike apps which simplify authentication via Facebook or Twitter, Go lets users skip self-authentication entirely, allowing them to post as 'anonymous'."

Those OWS demonstrations continue today, though one wouldn't know it by reading the New York Times. Instead, the best coverage is coming from The Guardian, which recently staffed up for their U.S. launch. The Guardian's U.S. website is currently maintaining a live blog to cover demonstrations in NYC.

The Presidents Cup began today in Melbourne, Australia. The event doesn't get the hype build up that the Ryder Cup does, and this year it seems even more low key. Maybe it is the time difference.

But the first round matches ended up being pretty interesting. The U.S. won four points versus the International's 2. But the interesting match was Tiger Woods and Steve Stricker versus Adam Scott and KJ Choi.

You see Adam Scott's caddy is Steve Williams. Williams is Woods's former caddy and someone who got in a heap of controversy for some rather racist comments made two weeks ago (he has since apologized and said he didn't mean them the way they were interpreted).

The International team beat Woods-Stricker 7&6, a wipe out in golfing terms. The picture of Woods shaking hands with Williams is worth viewing.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

You say you want a revolution (in Syria). Well, you know (there's an app for that). We all want to change the world.

The opposition in Syria now have their own news app – a simple news reader that gives its users the latest news and YouTube videos on the fight to overthrow the regime of President Bashar al-Assad. The app is universal, so it will work on all iOS devices.
Called Souria Wa Bas - سورية و بس (I hope your browser will display the Persian), the app is free to download.

ار بأقصى سرعه ممكنه. وسعيا منا لنشر اخبار بلدنا الغالي على اعلى نطاق فقد قمنا بتصميم هذا البرنامج خصيصا لنقل الاحداث.

Under the fast-moving events in Syria .. And the deliberate attempts to distort the facts by some.

We have compiled the most important Syrian news sources available, that are covering the events efficiently in order to spread most of the videos and latest news as quickly as possible.
In our attempt to spread the news about our beloved country at the highest levels, we have designed and developed this program specifically for these reasons.

– App Description
The app was developed under the name "Syrian App", presumably to remain as anonymous. The developer also has a blogspot website which is equally anonymous.

The app uses push notifications to keep readers up-to-date with events in Syria, which the app description says it takes from 40 different news sources. Here are additional screen captures:

Trade publishers see their ad pages grow in August, though just barely; pages up 1.81% for the year

The ABM has issued its August report for ad pages and revenue for U.S. trade publishers (link here). Ad pages managed to eek out a small gain of 0.49 percent, and remain in positive territory for the year, gaining 1.81 percent.

U.S. B2B publishers ended 2010 down a little over 3 percent, but ad pages fell over 28 percent in 2009 (ad pages were down 9.63 precent in 2008, as well). If B2B ad pages can stay in positive territory it would be first gain in pages since 2006 when publishers saw their ad pages grow up just a touch more than a half of a percent.


Over 500 publications now are inside Apple's Newsstand; rush of replica editions released into digital newsstand

Apple Newsstand has reached and blown through the 500 mark, thanks mostly to a rush of replica editions being added this week.

While some of the latest editions to Newsstand are brand new magazines such as Inpress Magazine from Street Press Australia (see post on their new apps here) which uses the Oomph digital publishing platform, others are simply updated apps of replica editions such as Combat Aircraft, released by Tri Active Media.

Many of the replica editions continue to charge a nominal fee for the app, then charge a rather substantial subscription charge within the app. Most of these publications receive very few reviews, and if they do, they are mostly negative.

As of today, Apple lists Men's Health Magazine, NYTImes for iPad and TRVL free Travel Magazine as the top three free apps inside Newsstand.

Because most of the apps inside Newsstand are free, there is no Paid category listed. On the other hand, since most of the apps charge a subscription fee, the Top Grossing category is important – the top three apps there are The Daily, NYTimes for iPad and The New Yorker Magazine.

Red Bulletin continues to explore the tablet publishing format with its free interactive magazine

I've said many times that the most interesting work being done in the tablet publishing platform is coming from sources where marketing is the first goal – automobile company magazines, for instance.

Red Bulletin, the magazine from the drink maker Red Bull, is an obviously example, as well. Red Bulletin's first iPad app was released in May and featured Tim Lincecum on the cover (ah, back when the Giants still dreamt of repeating as WS champs).
Since then the formula has continued to evolve. The new app, The Red Bulletin US, updated on October 28, has the tablet magazine inside Newsstand so that readers can subscribe (for free) and have their issues download automatically.

The tablet edition no longer supports both portrait and landscape modes, however. This move saves both edition file size as well as production time. With all the embedded video to be found inside the issues, this probably makes a lot of sense. For me, someone who most often has their tablet in landscape, the choice to go in this direction works fine, but others who most often hold their iPads like a Kindle will be disappointed in the choice.

But, it should be remembered, any video heavy app works best in landscape.

There is a funny little error in the latest edition: the December issue loads to the cover pages shown above – which reads "November", oops.

If you haven't been reading Red Bulletin, and are serious about tablet publishing, I would recommend downloading it. The app is consistently rated highly by readers who, I sure, appreciate the native app design. But the publishers I really wish would see this app are those who think porting over their print products as replica editions will be enough.

One last thought: will tablet publications like this end up exclusively on the iPad? While it is technically possible to port this over to Android for display on a seven-inch display tablet, I doubt the user experience would be the same.

Top Left: The first page after the cover offers navigation instruction; Top Right: The TOC; Bottom Left: the app features a page where the reader can access Red Bull TV; Bottom Right: an ad for Braun also features embedded video.

Hearst Newspapers release the first iPad apps for the Albany Times Union and San Antonio Express-News

The third and fourth tablet editions have been released by Hearst Newspapers last night. Following identical apps for the San Francisco Chronicle and the Houston Chronicle, Hearst has released two more iPad apps for their papers in Albany and San Antonio.
The iPad apps for both the Albany Times Union and the San Antonio Express-News are identical just about every way to the previously released apps, except only the app for its San Francisco paper supports Newsstand – certainly an odd decision.

The Hearst Newspapers apps are free to download, but require a subscription of either $5.99 a month or $59.99 per year to access the content. Both apps, however, are offering a free trial period.

Why the two apps keep the newspapers out of Newsstand is an odd decision, but it might be that Hearst did it this way in order to offer the free trial period – only previews are allowed in Newsstand. It is probably the case that all three apps without Newsstand support will be moved into the app with updates issued in the future.

The apps are not merely extensions of the newspaper websites. Comparing the websites with the print editions, and then the apps, it is clear that the editors are selecting the stories for both the print and tablet editions together. Meanwhile, stories from the websites appear in the far left column under the "Live Updates" banner.


If I have any complaint about the apps it is just the sameness of them, but over time, assuming the app team works with the individual papers, there may be time to customize them.

All the advertising is contained in one banner ad along the bottom of the pages which rotates every 30 seconds. This is a fairly unimaginative advertising solution, but at least they have included something. I would think that in the future the papers would want to have full page ads available inside the sections, just as there are in both print newspapers, and both print and digital magazines.

The sections to be found in the San Antonio app are the Front Page, Metro, Business, Sports, S.A. Life, Nation, World, Editorials & Opinion, Blogger Report, Weather, Traffic, Comics, and Obituaries.

Meanwhile, in the Albany app the sections are Front Page, Empire State, Capital Region, Opinion, Sports, Business, Traffic, Weather, Comics, Blogger Report, and In Memory.

Morning Brief: USPS loses $5.1 billion in fiscal 2011; Apple appoints Levinson as non-executive chairman of the board; Stanford posts app courses to iTunes U

The U.S. Postal Service reported a loss of $5.1 billion in its just ended fiscal year, and astounding amount even for such a poorly run organization. The USPS further warned that it would run out of cash as of September of next year if it did not get a cash infusion.

The losses are hard to explain (well, maybe they're not) since the Postal Service's revenue fell only 2.1 percent. But first class mail fell a larger percentage, and this is the service's most profitable category of business, one that it wants to fight to retain.

The USPS is hoping that one of the bills currently in Congress will address some of the issues at the service.

Apple announced late yesterday that it had appointed a new chairman, Arthur D. Levinson, chairman of Genentech. His position is as non-executive chairman of the board, a role vastly different than that held by Steve Jobs before his death.

Levinson is one of the longest serving board members and one very familiar with the Apple management team.

Stanford University has released its iOS 5 version of iPhone Application Development on iTunes U. The online courses are free, and best yet you don't have to have good grades to qualify to get in.

Stanford is one of the biggest users of Apple's iTunes U, routinely posting course lectures. Streamed videos of lectures involving app development have been inside iTunes in the past, though most are technical enough to put off the casual developer.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Time Inc. releases Android app for CNNMoney

Time Inc. continues to launch both tablet and mobile apps across platforms as they make sure their brands are protected regardless of device.

The latest apps to be released are Android apps for CNNMoney. The mobile Android app can be found in the Android Market here. It joins the CNNMoney for Google TV app previously released.

CNNMoney was released long ago for the iPhone and was last updated last December. The app is a news reader that gets its news from feeds from It also includes video, a stock ticker, breaking news alerts, and allows for customization. Users can create a watch list for tracking stocks.

Both the Android and its iOS counterpart are free to download and access content.

NYTimes The Collection: The Times launches its second iPad app in support of its fashion editorial

If I have had one serious criticism of the New York Times digital strategy of late, it has been that the company has been lagging far behind others in experimenting with both the mobile and tablet publishing platforms.
But the release of NYTimes The Collection is a move in the right direction. The app is free to download, but the app description states that after the New Year only some content will remain free but to gain unlimited access the reader will have to be a NYT subscriber to the tablet plan or the all-access plan. To me, this shows that readers have reject the NYT tablet edition in favor of web and smartphone access. Customers are certainly telling the Times that their tablet efforts have been weak – this doesn't solve the NYT tablet app issue, it covers it up.

The app is another of those Flipboard box design apps, but I will admit that the concept definitely works here. The reason is that box design fails to convey editorial curation, the prioritizing of stories – that is unnecessary here. Instead the reader can browse the stories at their leisure in an unhurried manner.

At left, tapping on a story box leads the reader to the summary page, tapping again (at right) brings you to the archived story.

There is a fair amount of content here that the reader can access, which is important in an app that a reader will linger over. From the app description:
Readers of this app also get:
  • Updates from across the fashion industry and behind-the-scenes interviews.
  • Photos of all the latest looks fresh from the runways in New York, Paris, London and Milan.
  • New products that are hot in stores and the latest in beauty and cosmetic trends.
  • Street fashion from Bill Cunningham’s On the Street, T’s Look of the Moment and reader-submitted slide shows.
  • Shopping videos.
  • The ability to seamlessly share their favorite articles, videos and slide shows via Facebook, Twitter and e-mail.
  • Fashion reviews from Cathy Horyn and Suzy Menkes.

“It’s one of our first forays into what we think of as vertical app strategy,” Times product management executive director M.Z. Goodman told Women's Wear Daily's John Koblin. “What can we do with all the content we produce that might stand alone well? It’s sort of an experiment.”

Yes, it is. But this is what the NYT should be doing. It is what will continue to separate the NYT brand from other newspapers.

While many newspaper publishers see the new digital platforms as simply a way of extending the print product, others realize that tablets are a unique platform requiring their own unique, specially designed products. NYT The Collection is an "experiment" worth conducting.

New ABM chief sees the B2B media industry moving slowly, but surely towards its digital future

In part two in my conversation with new AMB chief executive Clark Pettit, the conversation turns to digital media.

The new chief executive of American Business Media has a huge challenge ahead of him: how to promote and assist his members in their move to the new digital platforms, while at the same time not moving too far ahead, too fast.

"Digital is a collection of channels. It's not really a platform like print," told me in a follow-up conversation to our talk at the recent Executive Forum.

"Digital means websites, digital means mobile apps and iPad apps. It also includes broadcast and RSS feeds, and all sorts of other ways of reaching the audience," Pettit said in explaining the complexity of the issue.

"Where you are seeing some hesitation," Pettit said, "is that reaching an audience through digital technologies… is in a sense a game of fragmentation and segmentation. In order to reach that audience you have to reach them potentially on all devices. You are sometimes reaching the same people that are moving from device to device to device throughout the day… and sometimes you are reaching different audiences. There are some people you are only going to reach through a mobile app you're not going to reach through online, and visa versa."

Pettit said that, for now, advertisers are "skittish" about the values of the various new digital channels, and therefore less likely to advertise. But B2B publishers, Pettit said, are aware they need to experiment.

"B2B does tend to move a little slower because the audience tends to move a little slower. So there is an opportunity for more reflection and more understanding of it and trying to learn from other industry and getting it right," Pettit told me.

"Nobody in B2B needs to be educated about what digital is, and what the theoretical possibilities are, and the compelling need to reach their audience in different ways. Every single person gets that and understands that."

Despite this, however, the American trade press remains far behind the consumer publishing industry, and even the B2B industry in Europe. But Pettit is optimistic that his members are moving forward, ready to begin launching new digital products for their customers.

"Now we're in a different phase, and its coincidental with my coming on – but obviously that is by design by the board – the industry is now in a position of saying 'OK, I get all that, I know there are opportunities out there,' but now we are in what I call the science of execution phase," Pettit concluded.

Morning Brief: Amazon begins shipping Kindle Fires (supposedly); Newsweek makes management changes

It is pretty clear that Amazon just doesn't get the concept of building demand as November 15th has arrived and some customers have received their new Kindle Fires while other customers find that Amazon has yet to even ship their tablets let alone guarantee their arrival on launch day. The result is a missed marketing opportunity.

Meanwhile, developers are announcing that their apps will be ready for the launch., a real estate website, yesterday announced that their Android app has been optimized for the Kindle Fire.

"Kindle Fire will be a winner, and Trulia Mobile immediately knew we wanted to be part of this exciting new mobile platform," said Steven Yarger, Trulia's Mobile Product Manager in the company's app announcement. "Kindle Fire brings a tablet to market that marries rich content and industry-leading features with an affordable price point -- a combination that is sure to be a hit with consumers."

Trulia has been available in both Apple's App Store and the Android Market for quite a while now.

Another company that has had a presence in the Apple App Store for a while but is just getting around to Android is eFax, the cloud-based fax service (I used to be an eFax customer a decade ago).

The new Android version of eFax lets customers create and send faxes, view and search their faxes, use cover sheets, etc.

"People that were once bound to their offices now do business on the move,"said Mike Pugh, vice president, marketing of j2 Communications. "Activities that were once limited to business hours are now done around the clock. The new eFax Android app -- along with our iPhone(R) and iPad(R) apps -- lets people close deals, place orders, get paid, and perform other common fax activities anywhere, any time."

While the app can be found in the Android Market, I did not see a version of eFax on at this time.

The media world was buzzing yesterday by the rapid fire news of executives leaving Newsweek.

Ray Chelstowski, who was publisher of Newsweek and The Daily Beast, was the first to go, followed soon after by the executive editor, Edward Felsenthal, and then the managing editor, Tom Weber. Chelstowski had come over from Entertainment Weekly.

“These changes position The Newsweek Daily Beast Co. for continued rapid growth as a global, multi-platform news organization,” Rob Gregory, the venture’s president, said in a statement that I'm sure the outgoing executives really appreciated.

Into Newsweek returns Mark Miller, a former Newsweek bureau chief who will now serve as editorial operations director.

Also coming to Newsweek to handle ad sales will be Eric Danetz (pictured at right) who comes over to the struggling news weekly from CBS Interactive – though why he'd want to make such a move is, well, interesting.

Newsweek was sold to stereo equipment magnate Sidney Harman last year by The Washington Post Company for $1. Harman did in April of this year.

Apple continues to deal with battery issues with its iPhones following the recent update to its mobile operating system.

Isolating the problems, and identifying whether it really is a problem, may prove difficult. One issue is simply that many customers don't manage their apps very well. Whether customers are experiencing poorer battery performance due to data leakage – the constant pinging some apps do to check for updates – or whether it is truly something inherent in iOS 5 is something Apple engineers will be investigating.

Most likely another iOS update can be expected before Christmas.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Spanish gaming website launches a new app that moves its tablet-only magazine into Newsstand

In May of this year I wrote about the launch of a tablet-only magazine zonaBlade, an offshoot of the Spanish gaming website Now a new app has been released that brings that tablet-only magazine into Newsstand.
zonaBLADE EVO is a free app that also gives you access to the November issue free of charge. Readers can also subscribe for free so that new issues will download automatically.

Meanwhile the old app, BLADE Magazine, is still in the App Store and I assume will continue to function.

One thing I found interesting is that the publisher appears to have created a second Apple developer account to launch the new app. The new app appears under the name zonaBlade, while the old app was launched under the seller name of I don't know what advantages there would be to creating a new developer account – guess I'll have to think about that a bit.

Blade magazine vuelve a tu iPad con más contenidos, mejores articulos y una imagen totalmente renovada. Bienvenido a la nueva zonaBLADE EVO, la primera revista española sobre videojuegos disenada exclusivamente para tablets.

"Blade Magazine back to your iPad with more content, better items and completely renewed. Welcome to the new zonaBLADE EVO, the first Spanish magazine about videogames designed exclusively for tablets."
– App Description

The new app will let you access the library page in landscape, but unlike the previous version of the tablet-=only magazine, this app must be read strictly in portrait. This is somewhat unfortunate but it does keep the size of the downloads down and it simplifies things for advertisers who do not have to supply copy for both orientations.

The old version of the app was very well received in the Spanish App Store receiving pretty much unanimous praise. There is no reason to believe this one won't be well received, as well.

PBS KIDS, WGBH, launches augmented reality app for iPhone, iPod touch based on FETCH! With Ruff Ruffman

Launched today into the App Store, PBS KIDS has launched its first augmented reality app for the iPhone and iPod touch, FETCH! LUNCH RUSH, based on the WGBH produced television series FETCH! With Ruff Ruffman.
The new app is free to download and play. To get started the players need to get a PDF of game pieces that will need to be printed out – I would strongly recommend that kids get a little assistance from their parents to handle the download and printing, unless their kids are as tech savvy as many are. The game pieces can be found on the PBS KIDS site (here), or the PDF can be emailed to you if you supply your email address within the app.

“The FETCH! Lunch Rush App is designed as a 3-D game, which helps kids visualize the math problems they are trying to solve,” said Lesli Rotenberg, Senior Vice President, Children’s Media, PBS in the app annuncement. “At PBS KIDS our goal is to use media to nurture kids’ natural curiosity and inspire them to explore the world around them; we can’t wait to see what this new app will mean for furthering that exploration.”

In the game, players make Ruff Ruffman colelct the lunch order for his studio crew. The goal is to keep track the order – for sushi, believe it or not – using the printed PDF "markets" and the devices camera within the game.

“Augmented reality is becoming a popular marketing tool and a compelling feature for gamers, but no one has fully explored what this could mean for educating children,” said Jason Seiken, Senior Vice President, Interactive, Product Development and Innovation, PBS. “We were among the first to offer educational augmented reality kids content when we launched the DINOSAUR TRAIN Hatching Party online game last year, in which a player’s real world intersects with a virtual environment online to help hatch a dinosaur egg. We’re excited to expand our exploration of this space by launching our first augmented reality mobile app and continue PBS KIDS’s leadership in using new technologies to further learning.”


Following the bouncing Examiner; paper that launched the Hearst newspaper empire sold to Canadian publisher

The San Francisco Examiner has been sold off, again. The paper that launched the Hearst newspaper empire has been sold to the Canadian publisher Black Press (not associated with Conrad Black, it should be noted).

The history of the Examiner is fairly amazing. It was launched in 1863 as as the Democratic Press, a pro-slavery newspaper, but after its offices were destroyed following the assassination of Lincoln it changed its name to the Daily Examiner.

In 1880 George Hearst bought the paper, supposedly as payment for a gambling debt, and in 1887 it was given to his 23-year old son, William Randolph Hearst, to run. Thus began Hearst Newspapers.

But the Examiner eventually became the weaker paper in the JOA established in 1965 with the Chronicle. Hearst's fortunes in San Francisco only turned around when the de Young family, owners of the Chronicle sold their paper to Hearst.

Hearst then sold off the Examiner to the Fang family and the soap opera of the Examiner then became surreal.
Eventually the paper was sold to Philip Anschutz, and the paper has been part of Clarity Media Group since 2004.

Now it has been sold again to the Black Press which owns papers in British Columbia, as well as Washington state, Hawaii (where it owns the Honolulu Star-Advertiser) and Ohio (where it owns the Akron Beacon Journal).

Under Clarity Media Group, the Examiner has not really been competition for the Hearst owned Chronicle, nor has it been exactly a leader in digital publisher either. A look at its website for the property shows that its advertising comes in mostly from ad networks, and that its news selection is, well, questionable at best. (The home page contains a story on the Seattle Seahawks win over the Baltimore Ravens – nothing on the 49ers big win over the NY Giants.)

While the Examiner under Clarity has not been experimenting with native mobile and tablet editions, launching replica apps through PageSuite, the new company is doing very little, as well. This could be simply swapping one print-centric owner for another – though there is no doubt that the new owner is most likely on more solid ground when it comes to its finances.

Note: I am a former Hearst Newspaper employee, though in Southern California not the Bay Area.

Morning Brief: YouGov survey shows erosion in trust in newspapers following phone hacking scandal; 'digital first' pop stars; first Kindle Fire reviews begin to appear

The Guardian this morning is reporting the results of a survey conducted by YouGov, commissioned by PBS, that shows that 58 percent of those surveyed in the U.K. say the phone hacking scandal involving Murdoch's British newspapers has had a a negative effect on their views concerning the British press.

The survey asked opinions of 1,108 people in the U.K. and 1,095 in the U.S. concerning the British press.

While surveys in the U.S. generally find that newspapers are the most trusted source of news, ahead of TV and magazines, in the U.K. newspapers lagged behind TV and radio, with 64% saying TV is a trusted source of news, while only 38% sited newspapers. (It should be remember, however, that the BBC remains an important news institution in the U.K. and that Murdoch's News International is a dominant newspaper company in the U.K., as well.)

David Carr profiled John Paton, chief executive at MediaNews and the Journal Register Company, this Sunday, calling Paton "something of a darling among media thinkers." Indeed he is.

So is Lady Gaga.

I found it interesting that The Telegraph dedicated an enormous amount of space Friday to a guid to downloading its iPad app.
The issue they are attempting to address is that expats are running into problems with iTunes when attempting to subscribe to the newspaper's digital product through the App Store.

The problem, you see, is that iTunes will not accept your credit card if it is not issued in the same country as the iTunes App Store. That is, if you are subscribing to The Telegraph through the U.S. App Store you need to use a U.S. issued credit card. Obviously, many U.K. citizens who are working in the U.S. may still be using credit cards issued from U.K. banks.

The solution that takes up so much space really isn't much of a solution at all, it is simply a reminder to use a local credit card. The only other option is to set up an iTunes account without any payment information at all. This will allow the reader to "buy" free apps, and to redeem gift cards. Through this mechanism one can then make purchases.

There are currently 123 different national App Stores established by Apple, 41 in Europe alone.

The first Kindle Fire reviews are being published just ahead of the official of the tablet's official release tomorrow.

I would recommend, as usual, the review from Andy Ihnatko in the Chicago Sun Times. He runs downs the new tablet's features, its design flaws, as well as good general observations (such as the fact that the tablet feels heavy simply because it is a Kindle and so expectations are set for it to be very light instead of the usual tablet weight).

Ihnatko's biggest complaints lie in the areas you would expect: software.
The interface is a big step up over stock Android, but it still needs some fine-tuning. The rotating carousel of recently-accessed item is on a hair trigger and as often as not, I still wind up scrolling just past the item I want to select even after three days of heavy usage. There isn’t quite enough communication between the UI and the user, either. Often I tap a button (to move from the carousel to the Movies area, or to purchase an item) and have no idea whether or not the Fire is actually doing the thing I believe I’ve just asked it to do.
I have absolutely no idea when I can expect my own Kindle Fire to arrive. (You see I'm not a big shot blogger apparently so no one sends me tablets for my evaluation. Bummer, I know.)

But as I've mentioned before, the real problem lies with the way Amazon is handling customer shipments – they are just considering them just another purchase within their system. As a result, their won't be the big anticipation for this device because they are not guaranteeing shipment on a specific day the way Apple launched its iPad last year.

The advantage of doing it this way, though, is that there won't be a rush of registrations all occurring tomorrow.