Thursday, March 8, 2012

Entrepreneur Media launches a new tablet app, updates its mobile app, that support the magazine's website

I once worked for a magazine company where the owner seemed to be obsessed with outsourcing. Whether it was website design and hosting or eventually ad sales, everything was subject to outsourcing. Eventually all the ad revenue was outsourced to the competition, of course.

Some publishers continue to feel that digital publishing is outside their main area of focus.
Whether Entrepreneur Media feels that way about their digital publishing is not known to me. But their previous tablet and mobile apps, replica editions from Texterity, did not make a good impression.

Now the company has released a new tablet app and updated their mobile app – both get their content from the web operations. Entrepreneur Daily is for the iPhone, and Entrepreneur Daily for the iPad is for, well, you get it.

Neither app is really necessary since the magazine's website looks just fine on the iPad's Safari browser. If the website was Flash-driven, or had a Flash-driven element that was just too important to lose, one could understand launching an app that could overcome this (remember, the iPad and iPhone don't support Flash), but this isn't the case.
Initially, to see how the website compare to the app, I clicked on the link in the app description – Entrepreneur Daily for iPad Support, and you can see at right what I saw. Lovely, isn't it.

The app was created by FreeRange 360, whose motto is "Serious Mobile Publishing". Better to say nothing else, I suppose.

When I try to think of why apps such as these are released I am reminded of the early days of web publishing. During the nineties I was involved with B2B media and many clients during the middle nineties were not very interested in the web. But some clients, starting around 1997, would ask out plans concerning the web. Luckily, we could talk a good game and could promise big things, eventually.

I'm sure the same sorts of conversations are going on now at magazines without mobile apps or tablet editions. An advertiser, or an interactive agency might check iTunes before the sales call and then ask their magazine rep "so, what are you guys doing in digital? I don't see any apps for you guys." Then the rep returns to the office and asks their manager "so, when are we going to launch an iPhone (or iPad or Android or Kindle) app?" That gets kicked upstairs and someone ends doing something about it. Problem solved. Or not.