Monday, December 31, 2012

Post #894 for 2012: a look at last year's TNM predictions

There were a few less posts to appear on TNM this year than appeared in 2011, the reason being a mid-year vacation and a pledge to slow down a bit. That didn't last, however.

On the last working day of 2011, Friday the 30th, I made a series of predictions that were more of an attempt to point out the silliness of predictions on media websites.

The first prediction was that the Giants would still not "be able to hit the broadside of a barn next year." Damn, wouldn't you know they would go on to win the World Series again. I could get used to this win the World Series every two years thing.

I look pretty good, don't you think?
I also predicted that Apple would release an iPad 3 at the usual time - no drama, no major surprises. I was right about that, other than the fact that they called the new iPad the new iPad. What I didn't think Apple would do was to release an iPad 4 in the fall. No one still knows why they did it.

I also said there would be no 7-inch iPad in 2012. Wrong again. Though, I suppose the fact that the iPad mini has a slightly larger than 7-inch screen could mitigate that error. No? Thought not.

My other predictions were dead on: the Sharks didn't win the Stanley Cup; newspaper consultants would continue to push aggregation, layoffs and fighting new digital technology (all in the name of being 'digitally focused'; and magazines as a print platform survived (even if more titles were shuttered); and I was right in predicting that Michele Bachmann wouldn't become the new President.

For 2013 I have few predictions other than the obvious: Congress will continue to be a joke; the iPhone and iPad will continue to sell, as will Android phones; the Sharks won't win the Stanley Cup; and tech and media writers will continue to bore their readers with Apple rumors that originate on Asian websites that are actually the Chinese equivalent of The Onion.

That's it for predictions.

...and that's it for 2012. Here is wishing you a peaceful and prosperous New Year. And thank you for reading Talking New Media. See you next year.

12 Apps of Christmas: December sees the promise of the new digital platforms needlessly endangered by the very players who invented them

The Twelve Days of Christmas runs from Christmas Day to the evening of January 5th, or Twelfth Night.  TNM's 12 Apps of Christmas, which began the week before Christmas, has looked at the significant media events and new apps of 2012. Today we have reached December.

The month of December has shown both the great promise of the new digital platforms, as well as the great dangers inherent in them. Fantastic new apps, such as KIDS DISCOVER, launched in December by Joe Zeff Design, show what can be accomplished with the tablet publishing platform. At the same time, the demise of The Daily was used as proof that the platform can not sustain a profitable new publishing venture.

My own enthusiasm for the new platforms – both mobile and tablets – took a major hit in December when Apple redesigned its own App Store in a way that now makes it nearly impossible for new apps to be discovered without the help of Apple itself or at great marketing expense. The redesign changed the outward look of all the international App Stores, but it was the change to the U.S. App Store that was the most discouraging to new developers.

Where do we go from here? Is the future of the new digital platforms a world where only the largest media companies will be able to show off their new products? Or is there still room in the App Store for start-ups and independents to thrive?
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Tablet publishing is now a worldwide phenomenon.
In 2010, the year TNM launched, the big question was whether the new digital platforms were going to grow to a point where it made sense for media companies to create products for them. This question has been decided: smartphones and tablets are here to stay.

In 2013 the big question may be whether the new platforms will remain open to start-ups and independents, whether Apple and other platform owners will continue to promote only the big media players, those willing to pay-to-play.

We may be on the verge of a media revolution, assuming the big tech companies do not make more missteps. Like all revolutions, the old order will be shaken. The effects of online publishing is now being amplified by the introduction of the mobile and tablet platforms. Old media companies that have not proved able to hang onto their ad dollars online, will no doubt not attract ad dollars to the new platforms either.

But the mobile and tablet platforms are now a worldwide phenomenon. The next step is to make them pay, to build business models that will lead not only to new products, but to a whole new media industry. We need to dream big. It is time to think not about surviving the revolution, but in prospering.

It is time to make the new media platforms pay.

Morning Brief: Apple opens back up iTunes Connect; TNW hears back from Android owners; The Tribune Co. emerges from bankruptcy with a broadcaster's board

Apple opened up iTunes Connect over the weekend, releasing a handful or more of app updates including updates for several newspaper mobile apps such as those from the LA Times and MediaNews Group's Tri-Valley Times.

One hoped the week off would be accompanied by a rethinking of Apple's new policy of promoting only apps from big media companies or developers, but, sadly, this morning the App Store remains the same as it was before Christmas. It is hard to overestimate what a terrible decision Apple has made and how much this will drive away new developers.

On Sunday The Next Web published its own story on why it has decided to stop producing its tablet-only magazine for the Android platform (see TNM's story here) and will, at least for now, be iOS only.

The story has, and the decision, has generated quite a number of comments, as you would expect. While most readers are complaining about the decision, quite a number of them are also acknowledging that they were not even aware The Next Web had a tablet magazine available on the Android platform.

Some of this criticism is not justified – TNW promoted the digital product on its website regular, if I remember. But others said that they could not find the TNW magazine on their devices or within Google Play. This criticism has plenty of validity.

With the redesign of the App Store by Apple a huge opening has arisen for both Google and Amazon to attract developers. The issue is not the number of apps in either of Apple's competitor's stores – both platforms have plenty of apps at this point – but whether those apps can be found and whether the platform will, in the future, be a good place for media companies to appear.
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Google's own App Store is terrible for media app developers. The store is built to promote replica copies of print magazines inside its newsstand, or else whatever Google chooses to promote within its app section.

Amazon's own store is a bit better in that one can still search for the newest releases. But developers are less than impressed with the company's developer program.

Finally, there is the fact that the iPad (along with the Kindle Fire) continues to outpace other tablets. This is probably what has enabled Apple to begin to act like Microsoft. (But, hey, how is Microsoft doing today?)

The Tribune Company has emerged from bankruptcy with a new board of directors made up of creditors and broadcast veterans – reinforcing the rumors that the company may divest itself of its newspaper properties, though the company's announcement tries to beat that rumor back.

"Tribune will emerge from the bankruptcy process as a multimedia company with a great mix of profitable assets, strong brands in major markets and a much-improved capital structure," said Eddy Hartenstein, Tribune's current chief executive officer and publisher of the Los Angeles Times.

The new chief executive is expected to be Peter Liguori, a former News Corp. and Discovery Communications executive. Other board members are all from creditors such as Oaktree Capital Management, Angelo, Gordon & Co. and JPMorgan Chase & Co.

(Ask any B2B company owned by a PE firm how being owned by a financial institution which only looks out for its own financial interests works out. This will be ugly.)

Meanwhile, the news today should be dominated by whatever developments occur in Senate negotiations surrounding the so-called fiscal cliff. Today is D-Day and if the two sides can not get together to solve the budget issues one suspects any announcement of the fail won't be released until well after the markets have closed for the New Year's holiday.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

12 Apps of Christmas: November – publishers struggle to keep the doors open as print ad pages continue to decline

The Twelve Days of Christmas runs from Christmas Day to the evening of January 5th, or Twelfth Night.  TNM's 12 Apps of Christmas, which began last week, looks at the significant media events and new media apps of 2012. Today we have reached November. The last segment will appear New Year's Eve day.

As we moved into November we could finally see an end to the dreadful Presidential election cycle. Locally, I awoke the day after the election to find that my representative, a darling of the Tea Party movement, had been soundly defeated – replaced with a war veteran whose patriotism had been questioned during the campaign, despite her having lost both her legs in the war. At least some sanity seemed to have returned to the world. (It didn't last.)

A really nice new tablet edition was released in the month by the Denver Post, their Colorado Ski Guide. Created using the Adobe DPS, the app comes from the MediaNews Group division of Digital First Media, a newspaper company that, despite its name, it would be safe to consider the most backwards digitally in the industry. (There is more to being a digital company than redesigning the newsroom – real digital first companies like revenue and profits, as well.)

But even as it seemed as if the industry was beginning to consolidate its thinking about publishing platforms, new ones were being announced, such as PRSS, the platform from the publishers of the travel tablet magazine TRVL. As I am writing this, the publishers are out showing off their platform to publishers in hopes of encouraging early adopters.

Mag+, which has been around as long as the iPad, released its own SDK in November in hopes of getting developers to expand the platform even further. It was a good move, as one of the mistakes publishing vendors make is not constantly changing and growing the capabilities of their publishing solutions. We live now in an age where if a product does not frequently change and improve quickly finds itself left behind.

Early in the month, TNM reported on the latest B2B ad page report released by the ABM. It showed that business was slowing for B2B publishers as the latest time period – July with that November report – was filled with bad news.

In fact, things are getting worse for the B2B sector, not better. The August report, released in December, show no improvement – and more of the same means things are getting worse for publishers who had hoped 2012 would end the string of bad years.

Friday, December 28, 2012

BÜZE Magazine: Celebrate the coming New Year by downloading this new independent tablet-only magazine

Just sneaking into the App Store before Apple shut down iTunes Connect, Buze Magazine is a new tablet-only magazine from the Toronto publishing team of Vaughn Joseph and Cary Hyodo. Created using the Adobe Digital Publishing Suite, the magazine is scheduled to be published inside the Newsstand six times a year.

"Büze Magazine focuses on the global craft beer, artisanal spirits, mixology and foodie movements which when combined, create an enhanced drinks lifestyle – a lifestyle that embraces natural, organic and eco-friendly while producing a dizzying array of amazing drinks to accompany our most memorable moments," the app announcement states.

The new tablet magazine contains just one issue at this time, the premiere issue, which weighs in at just over 600 MB (pretty typical of a digital magazine made with the Adobe DPS).

Designed and edited by Cary Hyodo in InDesign, the magazine is meant to be read in portrait orientation, and, of course, features layouts and typography specifically designed for the iPad.
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Hyodo, who says be comes from the print side of the publishing business – "to tell you the truth, I'm kind of old school" he told me – had previously worked on a magazine with roughly the same editorial subject, but that magazine has become more B2B, while the vision for Buze Magazine is to be an international drinks magazine, thanks to distribution through the Newsstand. The publishing team also plans an edition that can be read through the Kindle Fire.

The new app features a preview that can be downloaded for free to give the reader an idea of what to expect. Single editions are priced at $3.99, while an annual subscription costs $19.99.

Hyodo says that his partner in the venture, Vaughn Joseph, was the catalyst for launching a tablet magazine. "To be honest with you," Hyodo told me today, "he talked me into this."

"When I started I had not a lot of knowledge of what a truly digital magazine was. I had seen a few digital entries into the field, and most of them I had seen were basically just print magazines with the funky page turning function," Hyodo said.

"But when my partner showed me the true breadth... and what was possible with the fully interactive magazine I was kind of hooked."

Because of the publisher's background in the traditional magazine industry, the start-up tablet magazine is avoiding a lot of the mistakes made by newbies. Buze Magazine, for instance, already has a nicely designed website which can support the digital magazine's marketing. A press release has been issued (today, as a matter of fact), and there is already a full 2013 media kit available, complete with rates and specs.

"BÜZE Magazine will be attractively priced and sold through the iTunes Store/ Newsstand," the media kit proclaims. "The same place you would find the digital GQ or Wired Magazines. As such, our reach is not limited by the cost and imperfections of CMYK printing and we totally bypass the messy carbon footprinting of tree destruction and truck deliveries. The subject is international in scope, and our reach is global. BÜZE Magazine is an idea whose time has arrived."

"We're just a tap away."
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The first issue of Buze Magazine contains advertising, just as you would expect of any commercial publications, Hyodo made sure of that.

A common mistake made by new tablet magazine not originating from a team of print publishers, is the lack of advertising-centric thinking seen in the first issues. As any print publisher with launch experience will tell you, you have to think advertising from Day One. Launch issues are usually seen as the main promotional piece in future sales pitches, so they not only need to contain advertising, but also need to be able to showcase for advertisers exactly who should be spending there ad dollars in future issues.

12 Apps of Christmas: In October, two indy publishers show two visions for tablet-only magazines

The Twelve Days of Christmas runs from Christmas Day to the evening of January 5th, or Twelfth Night.  TNM's 12 Apps of Christmas, which began last week, will look at significant media apps  released in 2012. Today we have reached October, and will continue the series through New Year's Eve.

In October the app developer of Instapaper, Marco Arment, released a tablet-only magazine, simply called The Magazine, which garnered great attention from the tech community. Some called the spartan digital magazine the way future digital publications would be designed, without interactivity and more like a Kindle Edition.

But other developers strongly disagreed, stating that the platform's strength was its ability to create both simply digital publications, as well as publications that can convey complex information using animation, audio and video.

A good example of this is 451 MagPad, the tablet-only magazine from France, originally released in October.

The French magazine takes its name from the 1953 Ray Bradbury novel Fahrenheit 451 – though, as I wrote at the time, the publisher may have been thinking of the François Truffaut film of the same book.

While I see value in Arment's new venture, I tend to think that any publisher who intentionally ignores the attributes of the platform they are using places themselves at a disadvantage. While too many of the early digital magazines may have over done animation and other features, that does not mean that these features don't have value when used properly.
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October saw developer begin to incorporate Passbook into their mobile apps, the Apple payment system introduced with the launch of iOS 6. Starbucks, one of the more obvious uses of Passbook, updated its mobile app to add in Passbook support during October – only later finally updating the app to add in iPhone 5 support.

Also in October, one of Canada's leading newspapers, The Globe and Mail, announced that it would be launching a metered paywall later in the month. "Some of the world’s largest and most respected media outlets have successfully introduced a similar model, and we look forward to the benefits it will enable us to deliver to our readers and advertisers," said Phillip Crawley, publisher of The Globe and Mail.

Paywalls continue to be a controversial issue in the industry, with some success being recorded by financial newspapers and major national papers like the NYT. But other papers have launched paywalls while skeptics continue to warn publishers that they are about to make their titles irrelevant online.

TNW Magazine: Publisher says the next issue will be the last build for the Android platform, at least for now

The co-founder of The Next Web has let TNM know that the next issue of their digital magazine, TNW Magazine (iTune link) will be that last built for the Google Play store. The next issue, v0.12, is being produced now, but the following issue, v1.1, will be for iOS only.

"The platform is just less developed," Boris Veldhuijzen van Zanten said, referring to the Android platform. "We did, however, give it a try after getting a lot of requests for it."

The Android app description states that the app, which is built using the Mag+ platform, "is optimized for the Google Nexus 7. Other Android tablets are supported, use on your own regard." (sic)

The Android app has been generally well received inside Google Play, though there are only 46 reviews written to date with the main complaint being issues with various Android tablets. There are 167 reviews for the universal iOS version inside the Apple App Store, the vast majority of which are five-star.
Goodbye Android?

"We are seeing one Android reader for every 80 iOS users. We might try again next year when more Android tablets are being sold but right now it seems like an easy market to ignore," Veldhuijzen van Zanten told TNM.

According to a draft announcement to appear on the TNW website, the website's co-found says "We tried an Android magazine, and found out it just isn’t worth the effort. Does that mean that Android sucks? Ehm, no, and there is no reason to tell us how cool Android is in the comments, because we understand it is. It just means that with the current state of technology and the way the market is divided we can’t afford to invest in it anymore."

One of the biggest hang ups, besides download numbers, is the time needed to produce the Android version, 3 to 4 days versus just a couple of hours needed to convert the iPad version into the iPhone edition, according to the publisher.
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The TNW Magazine app, being universal, supports not only the two versions of the iPad, but also the iPhone and iPod touch with its two different display sizes. With Android, that means the web property is supporting four different formats with its tablet-only magazine.

With the Mag+ platform the typical cost to produce a single platform app that will have Newsstand support is $399 per month, according to the vendor's website. There is an added charge of $99 or $199 per month to add support for one or more other devices.

Update: The Next Web's own story on their decision can be found here. The comments, in particular, are interesting. My only question would be this, though: if all these Android users didn't know TNW even had a tablet-magazine for the Android platform, why are they upset now that TNW won't be building one for Android anymore?

Thursday, December 27, 2012

12 Apps of Christmas: September – Apple makes a serious mistake with the release of its new Maps app

The Twelve Days of Christmas runs from Christmas Day to the evening of January 5th, or Twelfth Night.  TNM's 12 Apps of Christmas, which began last week, will look at significant media apps  released in 2012. Today we have reached September, and will continue the series through New Year's Eve.

There were a lot of really good new tablet magazine released in September, including two mentioned in the last installment of this series – the sports magazines from the SF Chronicle, Chicago Tribune and Sun-Times. But no app got more attention that the new Maps app from Apple, released as part of iOS 6.

On Monday, September 17 TNM reported the issue several days before the public release of iOS 6. The problem was in plan site, if one downloaded and installed the gold master of the new operating system.
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The problem with Maps was (and remains) with the data used to populate the app. Bad mapping, imagery and others issues made the new Maps an instant butt of jokes. Bridges that looked like they were melting didn't help, but the raw data is just plain bad.

The issue arose because Apple believed, probably correctly, that it needed to replace Google Maps because Google was withholding turn-by-turn directions. Google, for its part, wanted access to user data for advertising purposes. In retrospect, Apple should have allowed Google to launch its own maps app separate from the OS. Instead, the episode simply highlighted the ways Apple's software has fallen in quality over the past few years – iTunes being but the most glaring example until Maps.

September also saw the release of a new, lower priced app solution from Adobe. Priced at $395, Digital Publishing Suite, Single Edition allows media app developers to create a stand-alone app using Adobe DPS.

The downside is that as a single edition the app will not support Newsstand allow for multiple issues. But a good example of its use can be seen in the app for ΜΟΥΣΑ, the Greek edition of Marie Claire released in December.

Then mid-month there was this announcement: “After struggling for close to three years, we’ve decided to discontinue the consumer-facing magazines,” Mark Edmiston told Adweek as Nomad Editions announce that the company was shuttering its titles.

Retweet: WaPo profiles dubious TV production firm

I suppose that in some ways this story is along the same lines and of the same theme as my last post: a company that makes money using questionably tactics. But whereas some firms employ the lure of "increased exposure" in order to gain access to a journalist's original content, the story produced by the Washington Post last night is all about cold hard cash.

Written by Paul Farhi, the story is headlined Production firms stir suspicion among networks, would-be clients, and tells the tale of a company that approaches companies, trade associations and nonprofit organizations such as schools, with a somewhat unique proposition: they will shoot a short video about their organization to air on a television program, the piece will be flattering and will garner the organization much attention. The catch is that it will cost them a production fee of over $20,000.

You can read the entire piece on the WaPo website here.

There is an interesting comment posted after the story by a PR professional who has run into this outfit and tells how they work and that sometimes the firm says it is doing "research" and does not immediately ask for the money – that comes later, of course.

The reason the story is interesting to me is that these kinds of firms operate in many other areas, including in the magazine publishing field. The pitch and angle is often different, but it is the same scheme, nonetheless.

One publishing company I actually worked at for about a year made this business model into quite a successful venture. The company would employ a phone room split into two: one part would call companies to tell them that the magazine wanted to do a feature story on them, all they needed to do was submit to an interview and supply the magazine with a list of companies they worked with; the other part of the phone room would take that list and hard sell them ads that would surround the feature story. The pitch was that the company being featured wanted them to participate, and that not doing so would be bad for business. Once enough advertising was sold the feature would "go live" and be passed on to someone in the small editorial department that would churn out a story.

Each issue would start with zero ads and only a bare minimum of editorial. Then the features would be sold and the issue would take shape. In this way an issue could go from $0 to over $500,000 in three weeks. The publishing company could create these magazine for any imaginable topic and could publish them monthly, bi-monthly or quarterly depending on the success of the phone room. In this way a magazine could be started up and made profitable instantly.

I came on board because the CEO said he wanted to go legit and needed a magazine pro to help him out. In the end, being slimy proved more profitable than actually trying to produce a legitimate magazine and so eventually I was gone.

But the real story here, I think, is that our industry, the magazine publishing industry, doesn't look at a company like this one described as in any way illegitimate. On the contrary, a big NYC private equity firm, one that has backed many other magazine companies, invested in this one, as well. Apparently strong arming businesses didn't bother them in the least.

(The PE firm still lists the magazine company they invested in on their website, though they say they have exited the investment.)

Let's not pretend the things the reporter for the WaPo is writing about are unique to the television industry. We have our own share of shady characters, and it doesn't take much effort to find them.

Some new digital media start-ups test out exploitation as their business model, while a few try cooperation

If there was a major trend this year in digital media, one most tech and media websites would rather not talk about (besides declining advertising) it has to be the number of new media businesses that have been launched that use exploitation, or in some cases, cooperation with content creators to build their businesses.

Not a week goes by that I don't get solicited by a new, or even existing, new web property to contribute the content I create here at TNM to the new entity. In return, I am told, I will get added traffic back to my website. Actually getting paid for my work, of course, is out of the question.

As one person told me when I declined the offer to give away my content, "exploitation" is a strong word, their new launch, they assured me, was "revolutionary".

But there is nothing revolutionary about trying to get free content. Many of today's biggest web properties are build on that very notion. Ask newspaper publishers about Google and they will tell you that the search giant's very existence is dependent on their content (and so Google should pay). The issue is whether what the content providers get in return in worth the price of submitting their content to the other party for free. In the case of Google, where Google has said they would be happy to leave out the newspaper's content, most have decided that the bargain is not worth passing up – there is too much to lose and very little to gain by opting out.

Other businesses are built on the same concept. Facebook is a great example. Facebook, like MySpace before it, provides the platform and users join in. Users are not charged for the privilege, but their Facebook pages become the content Facebook can sell. Brands, in general, have found it worth their trouble to join in, but media entities are taking a second look at the concept, and some have decided to back out.
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More recently, Flipboard, Zite and even Google Currents have launched new tablet "magazines" where either the reader builds their own digital magazines and newspapers based on the content contributed by media properties. In some cases, the media outlet is presented with a carrot: drive enough traffic and you'll end up seeing a check.

The promise of pay is, of course, what can differentiate the offer from others. If a major tech property wants me to contribute my writing to their website or digital magazine what is in it for me? Added traffic? What about a share of the added revenue that site generates from online advertising?

Sadly, our industry, print and digital publishing, has jumped onto the exploitation bandwagon. Recently a long time publishing veteran, was honored after years of taking the full stories of other media outlets and repackaging them into his own newsletter. Apparently the business model does not bother other publishers who, most likely, would love to be able to rid themselves of the cost of creating original content themselves. What is honored in the publishing business is a cause for lawsuits in other industries.

But the business model has many variations, and exploitation can quickly morph into cooperation with a few tweaks here or there.

Cooperation, sadly, has gotten a bad rap through the years, as if the communists invented the term and now everyone needs to run as far away from the concept as possible. Cooperation is often seen as creating an inferior product to the efforts of the individual – take the wine cooperatives of southern France, as an example.

Nomad Editions, which recently shuttered its titles, was founded on the idea that individuals would edit their "own" magazines" using the Nomad publishing solution. In exchange, the editors would get a share of the subscription revenue. The concept had merit: the editor creates something new using tools provided for free and, in the end, gets paid for their efforts; the new media outlet creates the tools, absorbs the programming, design and server costs, but gets the content for free.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Holiday retail sales disappoint, though anecdotal evidence point to good sales for the Kindle and the iPad mini

It will probably be another week or two before we start hearing reports from the tablet makers on holiday sales. For now the early reports of sales overall are not good, with credit card companies saying that sales have been disappointing.

According to the MasterCard Advisors SpendingPulse report, holiday sales for the past two months before Christmas increased 0.7 percent compared to 2011. That increase was the worst sales increase since 2008 when the country was officially in recession.

Retailers are blaming bad weather – as if the weather is always good in winter – as well as economic uncertainly. But, let's face it, we're not exactly in a booming economy.

But if you were in the market for a tablet for Christmas there were plenty of choices, maybe even too many choices, according to some retailers I spoke to.

According to several Best Buy managers I spoke to, the big winner this year was the Kindle, including the Kindle Fire. Best Buy heavily promoted the tablet, and the low cost of Amazon's offerings probably went a long way towards driving sales.

None of the retail employees I spoke to could name another tablet that flew off the shelves other than the iPad. Well, the iPad mini, in particular.

My local Best Buy no longer has any stock of the mini. But what about the other iPad models?

"The iPad is getting confusing," one store employee told me. "It used to be that there was the iPad. Now we sell the iPad, the new iPad and the iPad 2. The iPad mini is easy to understand, the others not so much."

Apple, it seems, has done the one thing Steve Jobs hated: fragmented the device market in such a way that consumers are confused as to what it is they are buying. And confused consumers tend to delay purchasing. (While Amazon has a whole like of Kindles, there appears to be less confusion between models.)

Rumors are now beginning to surface about a new iPad for launch in March, the traditional time for a new iPad to launch. At this point the only changes to the new iPad mentioned are that it would be lighter and thinner. Maybe it will be invisible.

The good news is that the tablet market is maturing to the point where there are lots of choices. The bad news is that developers of media applications have to begin wondering if their standard practice of developing for Apple's iOS first, others later, still is a good way to go. Apple's product fragmentation, iTunes and App Store issues, and higher prices may have finally added up to another company breaking through to become a real alternative to iOS.

12 Apps of Christmas: August sees the beginning of a rush of new digital sports magazines released by metro daily newspapers to showcase their sports coverage

The Twelve Days of Christmas runs from Christmas Day to the evening of January 5th, or Twelfth Night.  TNM's 12 Apps of Christmas, which began last week, will look at significant media apps  released in 2012. Today we have reached August, and will continue the series through New Year's Eve.

August is supposed to be the time when folks vacation and the media world slows down. But several media companies worked through the month to produce what I believe will be seen as an important publishing trend in the newspaper industry. Whether these first efforts are successful or not, the simple fact that these old media companies are moving in the direction of producing their own digital magazines will be significant.

September is the beginning of the football season, and so to launch a tablet magazine to house the content of a newspaper's sport section, one would need to begin early to begin work on the new app to house the digital magazine.

The first of these apps to appear on TNM was from McClatchy's Star-Telegram. DFW OT launched at the end of August and was quite a break from the earlier digital efforts seen from McClatchy. In fact, later that same week the newspaper chain released a series of dismal apps for its newspapers.

"DFW OT Sports is a very rare experiment in digital publishing" I wrote in August, "and one that should be applauded by all newspaper professionals – and its a pretty damn good digital magazine, as well."

DFW OT was not the first digital sports magazine to come from a newspaper, as several previous launches had occurred for basketball and baseball teams. But the Star-Telegram's effort was a preview of what was to come in the weeks ahead as new tablet magazines were released by the San Francisco Chronicle (49ers Insider), the Chicago Tribune (Bears Download) and the Chicago Sun-Times (Bears Extra).

The last three new tablet magazines all use the Mag+ platform to create their editions while the Star-Telegram uses Adobe. But all three are also using different business models to try and monetize their digital publishing efforts: some are paid subscription products, at least one is free; some contain advertising, others are single sponsored. This experimentation is a good thing as we get to see which models seem to work and whether readers are willing to pay to read these new digital ventures from traditional print newspaper companies.

NYC tabloids react to NRA chief, while Gannett-owned NY state paper produces interactive map of area gun owners

A Gannett newspaper in the Lower Hudson Valley produced and published an interactive map of area gun owners, drawing fire from readers (sorry, couldn't resist).

"I can't believe these a$$hats published this info. Clean up your hardware, stock up on ammo," wrote one irate reader.

"This is CRAZY!! why in the world would you post every licensed gun owner information??" wrote another. "What do you hope to accomplish by doing this. This is the type of thing you do for sex offenders not law abiding gun owners."
"The map indicates the addresses of all pistol permit holders in Westchester and Rockland counties," the newspaper said. "Each dot represents an individual permit holder licensed to own a handgun — a pistol or revolver. The data does not include owners of long guns — rifles or shotguns — which can be purchased without a permit."
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The feature has generated over 1,700 comments so far online, the vast majority of them negative, and many, many saying readers should boycott the paper.

The interactive feature comes on the heels of the elementary school shooting in Connecticut and the shooting this weekend of firefighters called to a fire deliberately set to attract shooting victims in Webster, NY. outside Rochester.

Just before Christmas, the NRA's chief executive Wayne LaPierre gave a speech where he recommended putting armed guards inside schools. The New York tabloids responded by featuring LaPierre on its cover – the Post leading with "Gun Nut" and the Daily News calling him the "craziest man on Earth".

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

12 Apps of Christmas: Next Issue Media's digital newsstand comes to the iPad & finally takes off, while Mag+'s native iPhone magazine solution gets showcased

The Twelve Days of Christmas runs from Christmas Day to the evening of January 5th, or Twelfth Night. But TNM's 12 Apps of Christmas, which began last week, will look at significant media apps (or trends) released in 2012.

Today, Christmas Day, we look at July, with the series continuing through New Year's Eve. This will be the only post here today at TNM, have a Merry Christmas.


July saw several new, important media apps released, but the summer was also a time of continuing difficulties in Europe as the Euro crisis continued on. During the month, the reporters for The Athens News, one of two English language news organizations in Greece, went out on strike due to unpaid back wages. Sadly the situation has not improved and the paper's website has remained without an update since mid-November.

Also in July, the founder of paidContent, Rafat Ali, launched a new travel website called Skift.com. Skift used the WordPress CMS to launch its 'travel intelligence' website, another take on online B2B publishing, and the first major move in this area since the demise of VerticalNet.

Late in the month Apple launched Mountain Lion and updated its own Mac apps. The launch of the new Mac OS went fairly smoothly, especially in comparison to the release later in the year of iOS 6.
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The most significant app releases in the month came from two very different sources, using two very different approaches.

The iPhone edition of the British Journal of Photography was an all-new app that used the Mag+ platform. Rather than simply making a universal replica app, the British magazine had launched a well-received tablet edition using the Mag+ platform. In July the magazine launched a new iPhone edition using the same, but now updated platform.

The results were wonderful: a fully native take on the mobile format.

Another app release in July may, in the end, be even more significant. Next Issue Media had been established back before the original iPad was launched. A digital alliance between major publishers Condé Nast, Hearst, Meredith, News Corporation and Time Inc., the new venture was, as expected, very slow to take off.

At first the new company launched a digital newsstand for the Samsung Galaxy Tab, then later an Android app was launched. This was an effort by media giants that was going nowhere, at at a slow pace.

Finally, in July, Next Issue Media launched its iPad app and finally the new venture gained some traction.

The business model is a break from the old subscription model: for one monthly fee a reader can access a whole catalog of magazine titles. Obviously the reason for Next Issue Media is to retain control with the publishers and avoid Apple's fees and control.

It is rather ironic, though, that while Next Issue Media is looking out for the interests of big publishers, Apple has made changes to its App Store that favor the big publishers, as well. For now, at least, no one seems to be looking out for small, independent publishers. What is now needed is an easy to navigate and search digital newsstand that creates an even playing field for digital start-ups.
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Monday, December 24, 2012

PhotobucketCody says
Merry Christmas
from Talking
New Media!

(and is there any of that roast leftover?)

Yo ho, my boys! No more work to-night!

"Yo ho, my boys!" said Fezziwig. "No more work to-night. Christmas Eve, Dick. Christmas, Ebenezer. Let's have the shutters up," cried old Fezziwig, with a sharp clap of his hands, "before a man can say Jack Robinson."

You wouldn't believe how those two fellows went at it. They charged into the street with the shutters -- one, two, three -- had them up in their places -- four, five, six -- barred them and pinned then -- seven, eight, nine -- and came back before you could have got to twelve, panting like race-horses.

"Hilli-ho!" cried old Fezziwig, skipping down from the high desk, with wonderful agility. "Clear away, my lads, and let's have lots of room here. Hilli-ho, Dick! Chirrup, Ebenezer."

Clear away! There was nothing they wouldn't have cleared away, or couldn't have cleared away, with old Fezziwig looking on. It was done in a minute. Every movable was packed off, as if it were dismissed from public life for evermore; the floor was swept and watered, the lamps were trimmed, fuel was heaped upon the fire; and the warehouse was as snug, and warm, and dry, and bright a ball-room, as you would desire to see upon a winter's night.

12 Apps of Christmas: the trend of web properties launching tablet magazines gets a boost from Huffington

The Twelve Days of Christmas runs from Christmas Day to the evening of January 5th, or Twelfth Night. But TNM's 12 Apps of Christmas, which began last week, will look at significant media apps (or trends) released in 2012. Today we look at June, continuing the series through New Year's Eve.

June, glorious, June. After some 25 years I finally went on another longish vacation. This business of ours is brutal, isn't it? So TNM was shut down for the last week of the month while I was in Greece – and it's a good thing, too. WiFi was pretty iffy.

Early in the month I was able to highlight the new app from B2B media firm Cygnus Business Media for Aircraft Maintenance Technology. Up to that time – and come to think of it, today as well – Cygnus is one of the few B2Bs out there showing any leadership when it comes to tablet editions. Late in the year Crain Communications finally showed some interest, but far too many B2Bs remain years behind their consumer counterparts.

The big news of the month was supposed to be the introduction of the Microsoft Surface tablet. Steve Ballmer, the company's CEOm could not get the launch event started on time, making everyone want 40 minutes before getting his show started. To make matters much, much worse, Microsoft did not announce either pricing or a launch date despite all the hoopla associated with the event.

Eventually, of course, the Surface surfaced, but only at a few limited retail locations so now Microsoft is still in the midst of rolling out its own tablet. Whether anyone really cares remains, six months after the intro event, an open question.

As far as tablet magazine launches were concerned the biggie was the launch of Huffington. The tablet-only digital magazine was nowhere near the first web property to decide to launch a tablet magazine.
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The Next Web, for instance, had launched its digital magazine back in February, and before that one Engadget Distro had appeared in Apple's Newsstand.

But the Huffington Post tablet magazine launch drew the most attention simply because of who was behind the magazine.

Later this year, when the news hit that The Daily would fold, many pointed to these tablet-only magazine published by web properties as proof that any tablet publication would need the support of either a print or online product behind it. One wonders if in the future some will argue that the only way to launch a print product will be to make sure one has a tablet product to support it?

It was also around this time that I got in the habit of producing short video walk-throughs of the new tablet apps. Here is the one produced in June for Huffington:

Morning Brief: Stock futures lower on budget concerns; Apple shuts down iTunes Connect for the holiday, Maybach to the Newsstand with a new app

It's Christmas Eve day, and I assume many TNM readers are enjoying an extended holiday. As for me, well, I have fond memories of working on the day before Christmas so am happy to be here to continue to talk about New Media.

One of the great things about working in the newspaper industry – back in the days when the newspaper industry was in better shape – was working Christmas Eve. No matter whether you were in the newsroom, the advertising department, or production there was always the next day's paper to put out, so few complained about working that day, after all, there would be those working the next day, as well. So, we all made the best of it, and found ways to actually enjoy the experience, wishing our fellow workers a good holiday, and doing things like cracking up some wine, that today would be against company policies.

So to those working in media on Christmas Eve, a hearty welcome to TNM.



Wall Street will have a shortened day of trading today because of the holiday. Stock futures are down, as one would expect, as investors express concern over whether Congress will be able to get its act together before January 1 to reach an agreement that will prevent automatic tax hikes and spending cuts from being implemented – the so-called fiscal cliff.

I wouldn't bet on Congress.

Apple has shut down iTunes Connect for the week. One hopes that while their system is down they are working behind the scenes to fix some of the issues involved with the App Store.

The biggest issue, however, remains the design of the U.S. App Store, which now overwhelmingly favors the apps from big publishers at the expense of small, independent publishers. Finding a new app without already knowing the name is now nearly impossible – as a result, I now spend most of my time outside the U.S. store in the other international App Stores that have not abandoned developers as of yet.

Before shutting down things for the holiday, Apple rushed to make sure new apps and app updates that were in queue were released into the store.

One of those apps is from long time TNM reader and independent publisher Christopher English. His new app for Maybach Magazine hit the store on Friday afternoon, as did quite a number of other new titles. (The Maybach app icon, which is the cover of the January issue, can be seen above-right.)

The new Maybach app was created using nov8rix which English chose because of the Newsstand support.

Many of the new apps are coming from the U.S.-Indian firm Magzter. The DIY solution has become popular for many smaller publishers because of the lack of upfront costs – Magzter instead employs a revenue share strategy. It is a tough deal, however, as publishers must split their subscription revenue with Magzter, a split that occurs after Apple gets its 30 percent. That means for every dollar of sales the publisher only sees 35 cents.

For ad driven business models this is not so bad, after all circulation usually, at best, just covers expenses. But for those new digital magazines trying to make a go of it through subscription sales, the two splits – one with Apple, one with the vendor – pretty much eats up any chances at the publisher seeing a profit, let alone a livable wage.
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As a result, many of the new digital magazines being released a being forced to price their issues and subscriptions quite a bit higher than other digital magazines, in order to eke out some revenue. This puts these new titles even more at a disadvantage inside the App Store. Maybe after Christmas we will awaken to see that Apple and these vendors have been visited by the Christmas spirits and things will be changed. (I put the odds of that happening about the same as the House GOP coming to their senses.)

One of the new digital magazines released late last week was Büze Magazine, a new drinks magazine that is most definitely using a more interactive digital publishing platform than many of the DIY new releases.

TNM will take a closer look at this new digital magazine start-up after the holiday.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

12 Apps of Christmas: newspapers adopt live blogging to provide up-to-the-minute reporting of breaking news

The Twelve Days of Christmas runs from Christmas Day to the evening of January 5th, or Twelfth Night. But TNM's 12 Apps of Christmas, which began on Tuesday, will look at significant media apps (or trends) released this year. We look at May today, continuing the series through New Year's Eve.

May was a month where the news was dominated by news from the newspaper industry, and none of its seemed to be good, whether here in the U.S., or overseas.

All month News International was in the news as its executives faced grilling in hearings named after the lead investigator, the Leveson Inquiry. During May Rebekah Brooks, the former head of News International, the U.K. division of Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. was charged with obstruction of justice.

In the U.S., the big news in May for the newspaper industry was the decision by Advance Publications to cut back the frequency of its daily newspapers in the South, including the well-respected New Orleans daily, The Times-Picayune. On May 24 Advance said that it would create a new company that would be "digitally focused" – though no new digital initiatives were announced at the time.

Atlantic Media said in May that it would launch a new online business brand, Quartz. Atlantic Media immediately began recruiting for the new digital property and so far the results seem to be good.

Early in the month the editor in chief of Technology Review, Jason Pontin, made news by posting his experiences with creating and launch an app for the title. Some tech writers, who already were skeptical of native tablet editions, jumped on the post as proof that native apps were a dead-end.

Mike Haney of Mag+ responded with a blog post of his own which appeared on TNM that begged to differ:

"I would argue," Haney wrote, "that many existing print publications will not find a way to make a profitable business by delivering the exact same package of content they do in print—however enhanced or redesigned—and certainly not until there’s a real advertising ecosystem in place.

The next week TNM posted a response from Erik Schut, president of WoodWing Software, also refuting the editor's post. Schut admitted that creating engaging new tablet editions involved additional work, but he warned that "if publishers don’t bring an engaging tablet experience they can be sure new players will step in and disrupt the market."
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With all that, I think the thing I will remember May for, however, is that way newspaper websites began to use live blogging as a regular part of online news experience.

On May 10 I pointed out to two live blogs: The Guardian's live blog of the Leveson inquiry which featured the testimony of Andy Coulseon, the former editor of the News of the World and the former communications director for the Tories; and the live blog being authored by Damian Mac Con Uladh for The Athens News, which is chronicling the efforts of the political parties to form a government and avoid a second round of elections.

Later the New York Times created a brand for its live blogging efforts called The Lede which has been used most recently, we're sad to say, to cover the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting.

Friday, December 21, 2012

12 Apps of Christmas: Adobe takes CS 6 to the Cloud

The Twelve Days of Christmas runs from Christmas Day to the evening of January 5th, or Twelfth Night. But TNM's 12 Apps of Christmas, which began on Tuesday, will look at significant media apps released this year – one per month. We look at April today, continuing the series through New Year's Eve.

Is April always so busy? It sure seemed that way this year, with new product launches, execs moving about, mergers and acquisitions, you name it.

The month began with a bit of a shocker as Instagram said it would accept a billion dollar offer from Facebook. The deal was depressing news for Instagram fans, though I have a feeling that those who think Instagram is a bit silly, probably feel the same way about Facebook, so maybe it was a good match. But Instagram users are not very happy today, now that Facebook introduced a new Terms of Service that say, among other things, that the company can use the photos in Instagram for advertising purposes without compensating the Instagram user.

A couple days later the U.S. Justice Department filed suit against Apple and some major book publishers over the agency model, as well as clauses in Apple contracts. The publishers involved included Hachette, HarperCollins, Macmillan, Penguin and Simon & Schuster, while other publishers were left out of the suit because they had already settled.

The lawsuit split both the book publishing and book reading public as it seemed to seriously favor Amazon.

One week later news came down that Gregg Hano had left Bonnier for Mag+, the digital platform company launched by the Swedish magazine publisher. The next week TNM featured a long interview with Hano in which the new Mag+ CEO said "The biggest challenges that we are faced with right now is probably one of making certain that advertisers can get their interactive creative on the different platforms in a way that is efficient for our agency partners."

TNM also featured in April an interview with the MPA's outgoing President and CEO Nina Link where the magazine association executive talked about the organization's new voluntary guidelines of tablet magazines.
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On April 12 Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia released a new tablet edition for Whole Living, completing the task of making sure there were digital editions for all the titles published by the company.

Unfortunately, the year will not end well for the title and its employees as later in the year the word was leaked that the company wanted to sell off the title. Unable to find a buyer, the company said it would shutter it.

As the new year comes it is still possible that Whole Living will find a buyer, as often companies swoop in after a title has been closed to see if it can acquire the assets of the brand at a discount.

For many media app developers, though, April will be remembered for the month that Adobe launched its Creative Suite 6, and its new subscription-based Creative Cloud.

At the time of the release I wrote that as "a former publisher I can not overstate the problems this upgrade may cause with those in the publishing community which have delayed or cancelled outright much of their investment in technology over the past decade."

Talking to both publishers and would-be publishers, this remains an issue and the search for an inexpensive production solution continues. But Adobe has, assuming you are invested in InDesign, attempted to create some inexpensive app publishing solutions, such as Single Edition. But the number cost of producing a native tablet edition remains the costs of the design software.

Media app updates: The Magazine, now with an animation (gasp!); Installation Magazine goes universal, using the Mag+ platform to create a native iPhone magazine edition

Apple needed to clear the decks before they shut down iTunes Connect, so a lot of app updates have appeared this week. This morning Marco Arment's The Magazine received an update but it looks, based on the app description that another might be right around the corner.

"There's an animation glitch in this version affecting some subscribers that usually goes away after a minute or two. I'm looking into it. Sorry about that," wrote Arment.

An animation? In the stripped down digital magazine? Well, good for Arment. There is no reason why a developer, or an art director, shouldn't use what the platform allows. As a publisher, if asked what bells and whistles an app should employ, my answer would always be the same: tell the story, don't worry about bells and whistles, use whatever features and effects will best tell the story – inform the reader, don't try to impress them.

Digital design can sometimes be like the golfer who is so concerned with his swing that he fails to notice that he is aiming at the clubhouse instead of the flag.

The Canadian publisher Rogers Publishing Limited updated several of its apps including the B2B title Canadian Grocer. Of the titles I currently have Marketing Magazine was also updated, but it looks like a large number of their apps received the same update.

According to the app description this is what is new:
  • Enhancements to videos, images and interactive elements.
  • Access back issues easier and faster using the improved store view.
  • Downloading issues is now more stable and reliable.
  • Improvements to the At A Glance panel.
  • Multiple minor bug fixes.
Several other media apps such as the International Herald Tribune for iPad, and NowThisNews were also updated, though the updates were minor and generally centered around fixing bugs or refining features.
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Probably the biggest media app update of the day belongs to Installation Magazine. The first post on the new digital art magazine appeared here in March. The app uses the Mag+ platform to create its digital issues and the app.

Now the app update has made the app universal, using the digital publishing platform's relatively new ability to create native mobile design solutions.

"Installation Magazine is not only new and improved, we're now on the iPhone!!" the app description proclaims.

"With the launch of Installation Magazine in March 2012, we have been met with an overwhelmingly positive response," the copy continues. "We’ve been listening to your feedback and are excited to announce big developments, starting right now. Launching with this update and new issue, we’ve redesigned our contemporary art and lifestyle magazine specifically for the iPhone in stunning retina display. We also present our best iPad reader to date: bringing you high quality media and faster downloads. Current iPad subscribers will be able to continue their subscription on both devices, as well as benefit from continued support on first and second generation iPads."

Understanding where your readers are coming from meanings adding it all up

It used to be so easy, wasn't it? In print days all one needed was that paper audit in your hands to have an intelligent conversation about how many readers were accessing your newspaper or magazine. Today, some think it is just as easy, then quote numbers that are either completely made up but someone in some other department, or are wildly inaccurate because of the increasingly complex nature of digital publishing.

One would think it would be easy thanks to things such as Google Analytics. Take this website, for instance. Do you want to know what operating system is being used by readers it seems to be all there.

As you can see at right, Windows is basically down to 50 percent of the traffic reaching this website. What you don't see, the small percentage of readers coming from Android, for instance, is what tells you that this is an incomplete picture.

What the numbers here really say is that 50 percent of a certain subset of the total readership uses Windows. An ever growing percentage are Mac users. But what about those shown to be iOS users? Well, because TNM has both a mobile website and an iPhone app, this number is exclusively those using an iPad.

In order to see the rest of the picture one would need to include figures from the mobile website and the RSS feeds that bring content to the app.

It is this complexity that makes it difficult to sell display advertising across digital product lines – yet another reason why the digital ad war is being run by Google and other pure plays.



Now is as good a time as any to thank the readers of Talking New Media for hanging in there this year. I had no idea, when I created this website for digital media professionals, that I would still be at it after three years.

Twice I have shut down this site thinking that it was time to move on. In 2012, traffic to TNM has increased 56 percent to a point where six times more readers access TNM than read the industry leading trade magazine. This is either a statement of what has been accomplished here at TNM or of the failure of B2B print magazines (I fear it is that latter).

Over the course of the last two weeks of this year I will continue looking back at each month, posting one story on each month every day through New Year's Eve except on Sundays. So look for the post on May tomorrow.

Morning Brief: The world is still here, better get shopping; Bernstein takes media to task; thoughts on 'Snow Fall'

Those who, thinking that the Mayans had correctly predicted the end of the world, woke today to discover that they had lost their bet. Because of this, there will no doubt me a large number of people rushing to malls today, quickly shopping for Christmas gifts they did not think they would have to give. Can't win them all.

While out, those same people might take along a tablet or smartphone and read Carl Bernstein's take down of both Rupert Murdoch and his empire, and the media, in general.

Bernstein, the former Washington Post reporter of Watergate fame, posted a column on The Guardian's website late yesterday afternoon entitled Why the US media ignored Murdoch's brazen bid to hijack the presidency.

In the column, Bernstein recaps his former colleague Bob Woodward's Washington Post story about efforts by Murdoch and crew to enlist General David Petraeus to run for president. In case you were not aware, Petraeus turned Murdoch down and Obama went on to win a second term (I hope this isn't news to you).

Bernstein is not exactly happy with the way this story was played in the WaPo, or taken up by the rest of the U.S. media world. He thinks its a big story that a media organization would try to manipulate the political system in such a brazen way and wonders why the rest of the media world doesn't think so, as well (or why the WaPo, itself, would downplay the story by running it in the Style section).
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Yesterday much of the Twitter world, or at least the media part, were glowing in their praise for the amazing feature posted on the home page of The New York Times.

Snow Fall: The Avalanche at Tunnel Creek is a brilliantly design and executed example modern web design. If you have not seen the feature you really need to do yourself a favor and take a look.

But while most media observers and journalists themselves gushed over the feature I was saddened to see that once again that the ad side had been left out.

According to the Poynter piece on the feature, there was close collaboration between the writer, John Branch, and the sports and graphics editors. Great. But stuck in the middle of each segment of the feature were ugly, traditional web ads – banners and medium rectangles.

So let's all make a New Year's resolution right here and now, let's resolve to try and fix the one problem in the newspaper industry that is paramount. It is not how to create great web feature, or how to do tablet editions. It is how we make this industry pay, how we generate digital advertising revenue, and turn a profit.

You can revolutionize the art of story telling online, but if you can not create a revolution in newspaper advertising you are out of business.

It is time to bring in the ad department and let them be part be part of the team again. Believe me, no one on the ad side wants to interfere with your editorial judgments, or insert a plug for their clients – if they do you kick them out of the room, and straight out of the building. No, what they want to do is be part of the future, a future where newspapers are once again attracting a healthy share of the advertising. To do this, they will need to be able to present their clients with something other than buttons and banners.



Thursday, December 20, 2012

Journal Register Company has its sales process approved by U.S. Bankruptcy Court

The U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York today approved the bid procedures, sale process and timeline for Journal Register Company's auction and sale process. The Journal Register Company is part of Digital First Media.

"We are pleased that the Court has approved the dates for competing bids and the auction and that Journal Register Company has now received the full support and cooperation in the sales process with the Official Creditors Committee," John Paton, Chief Executive Officer of Digital First Media said in the company's statement.

Now it is one to the public auction which is scheduled to conclude on or before February 15, 2013. The bankruptcy court will then announce the winning bid on February 21.

The newspaper company is currently owned by the private equity firm Alden Global Capital, and no doubt the company will remain a playing card in the PE game. A "stalking horse" bid by 21st CMH Acquisition Co., an affiliate of funds managed by Alden Global Capital LLC has already been filed.

Mini first look: Daily Mail releases online news app designed for owners of the iPad mini

What to do about the mini? Those smaller tablets have generally been ignored because of small sales results, but now that Apple has released its own small tablet some publishers are wondering exactly what to do about their previously released tablet editions? Keep them as is? Create an optimized version (as the NYT did)? or launch a whole new app?

This afternoon, prior to Apple shutting down iTunes Connect for the holidays, a new app was released by Associated Northcliffe Digital Limited for the Daily Mail that is designed specifically for the iPad mini.

MailOnline Mini joins MailOnline for iPad as apps designed for the iPad that reformat the tabloid newspaper's website content. The only difference, of course, is that the mini app is designed for the smaller tablet.

"Our app has been optimised to use the iPad’s and iPad’s mini clarity and size," the app description reads. "We have many features that will allow you to stay up to date with the latest news, celebrity gossip, sport, health, technology and gadgets, money, pictures and more from mailonline.co.uk, the No.1 UK newspaper site."
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Releasing a whole new app just for the mini may not be what a lot of publishers would choose to do, but if apps are being developed in-house I see no reason not to do so.

The only thing odd about the whole thing is that the old iPad app apparently requires a subscription, while the new app for the mini requires no in-app subscription to be purchased. But... I noticed that the old app for the larger iPad says the first 90 days of access is free, so I wouldn't be surprised if a price tag goes on the mini version in the coming days, as well.