Friday, May 25, 2012

culture Magazine, the Australian hair fashion bi-monthly, launches a new tablet edition

The Australian hair fashion magazine, culture, has released its first tablet edition into the Apple Newsstand – a native designed digital edition which, for some reason, is not charging for access to the issues. One reason for this may well be that the publisher is distributing the magazine free to those inside the industry, guaranteeing that the title will reach its target audience, while charging casual readers who simply want the magazine. Frankly, I'm guessing as neither the website nor the media kit give us a clue to circulation or strategy.
The magazine may like to go by "culture" with a small "c", but in the App Store the app is named Culture,

The new tablet edition gives readers access to the bi-monthly issues that are formatted in portrait, with videos designed to be played in landscape. The first issue found inside the app weighs in at 366 MB – pretty modest, though it ends up being a pretty slow download, nonetheless.

The tablet magazine is enhanced with videos created for the publication's website – labelled "culture TV." This immediately gives the digital edition a huge advantage as they have plenty of interactive material at their disposal. Supplementing this video are animations built into the tablet edition. They really don't add much, but they are certainly attractive.

As for the magazine... yuck. Oh well, I'm certainly not part of the target audience for culture (shoot me if I ever am).

As for the tablet edition, though, it is worth a look if only because it is well designed and... free.

Slew of media app updates released before the start of the Memorial Day weekend

It's the Friday before the start of the Memorial Day weekend and no doubt quite a number of my U.S. readers are taking the day off in order to extend the holiday to four days. In preparation, it looks like a lot a updates have been released to clear the table, so to speak.
Both iOS main iOS apps have been updated for the New York Times.

The mobile app, NYTimes, has bene updated to add a couple new features: a refresh button that displays app update progress, and the app now allows you to reorder the sections and blogs found within the app.

NYTimes for iPad, on the other hand, adds some new blog content, as well as the usual bug fixes.

Both apps now allow for overnight updating when the device is on WiFi.

The Zillow Real Estate app has bene updated to make it more like what can be found online. Full price and tax history has now been added to the home detail page.

The universal app, WatchESPN, has been updated, though, to be honest, I can't figure out what has changed. The app description mentions bug fixes, but also mentions that Comcast customers can now use the app. Well, that was actually added in the last update, so who knows.

The Martha Stewart Weddings Magazine app has bene updated to fix an issue with the subscription authenticating. An in-depth look at the app can be found here.

For whatever reason, the post on this app, first seen on Wednesday, has gotten a lot of traffic. Do I have a bunch of readers planning to get married soon?

Other media app updates of note: Comcast has updated its Xfinity TV app, fixing security certificate issues; NPR News has updated its iPhone app, adding TED Radio Hour and Ask Me Another content, as well as improving design and fixing bugs; and The Week Magazine US has been updated to support the 'retina' display of the new iPad, and fix bugs and improve performance (the UK version was last updated on April 12.)

I wouldn't be surprised to see more updates released as the Apple app team prepares for the weekend.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Apple features all native designed magazine apps in its Newsstand App of the Week section, including the newly launched tablet edition for Cook's Illustrated

Despite having an obvious bias towards interactive, natively designed media app, Apple sometimes promoted a replica edition in its Apps of the Week section of the App Store. But this week all five apps being promoted feature native design. That includes the well done tablet edition for Cook's Illustrated.
Cook's Illustrated Magazine is tablet edition that is both old fashioned and cutting edge. The magazine itself is the old fashioned part, and its tablet edition faithfully keeps its basic look and feel inside the new iPad app.

But the layouts and interactivity give the tablet edition a modern feel, as well. Inside the reader will find lots of creative use of tablet design, as well as embedded video that puts this digital magazine miles ahead of Bonnier's Saveur, for instance. The future of cooking magazines is so clearly interactivity and instructional videos that one might be hard pressed to understand why a replica edition would work in this category (hint, it doesn't).

Because of the interactivity of the app, the May/June issue currently available weighs in at 655 MB for the new iPad.

The new app is sold under the publisher's name, America's Test Kitchen. Monthly subscriptions are available for $1.99, with annual subscriptions priced at $19.99. Single copy issues can be bought at $5.99.

Despite the quality of the app edition, there are still plenty of one-star reviews of the new app generated by irate print subscribers who will be forced to pay again to access the digital editions.


The other four magazines being featured in the iPad App of the Week section include Meredith's app for Better Homes and Gardens, Hearst's Popular Mechanics, Wenner Media's US Weekly, and Source Interlink Media's Automobile.

The Meredith app for Better Homes and Gardens has recently begun to offer print subscribers their digital editions for free, greatly reducing the number of those nasty negative reviews. The less than rave reviews now seen in the App Store involve app bugs, things that can get worked out over time.

It's has been D-Day for newspapers in the Southeast as Advance Publications cuts back on print frequency at its dailies in Louisiana and Alabama

If you are in the newspaper industry you no doubt already have heard the news: Advance Publications has made announcements today that will effect its paper in New Orleans, The Times-Picayune, and then quickly made a similar announcement that will effect The Birmingham News, the Press-Register of Mobile, The Huntsville Times: the newspapers will now only print on Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays.

Both announcements were mentioned the creation of a new company that would be "digitally focused" (though in New Orleans they used a hyphen between those two words).

Both the announcement in New Orleans and in Birmingham spoke of difficult choices and "looking forward," but neither announcement mentioned what new digital initiatives would be taken - nothing about a metered paywall, a paid tablet edition, etc.

Leading the new Alabama Media Group will be Cindy Martin, who has served as President/CEO of, the digital arm for the Advance newspapers in Alabama. Martin was in business development at AT&T for nine years before spending one year at McKinley Group as publisher of Magellan Search Engine. Martin was named the head of at Advance Internet in 1997.

Jim Romenesko, as usual, has been on top of things through his new website. Sadly, the same can not be said for Editor & Publisher which is a shadow of its former self.

The Times-Picayune announces it will cut print schedule back to 3 days; a new "digitally focused" company is created though no new digital initiatives are announced

The New Orleans Times-Picayune this morning, reacting to a story in the New York Times by media reporter David Carr, confirmed that it was reducing its print schedule to three days. Ashton Phelps, Jr., publisher of the paper that can trace its origins back to 1837, said a new company will be formed with the move, NOLA Media Group.

According to Phelps, described the new company as "a digitally focused company that will launch this fall and that will develop new and innovative ways to deliver news and information to the company’s online and mobile readers. NOLA Media Group will be led by Ricky Mathews."

He then dropped the bombshell: "Also this fall, The Times-Picayune will begin publishing a more robust newspaper on a reduced schedule of Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays only."

The story by Carr that led to the announcement said that the strategy that would be taken was modeled on the Ann Arbor News, where the company killed off the print paper and went to an online-only approach. That left the city which is home to the University of Michigan without a daily newspaper.
Newhouse, a part of Advance Publications which includes Condé Nast, has been far behind both its magazine sister division and other newspapers in exploring alternatives to web-based publishing. The apps, for instance, are (as the name implies) simply smartphone or tablet versions of the website. The for iPad offers a tablet version of the website with no pay model involved. Because the app mimics the website, it resides outside the Newsstand.

This same model is used for many of the other Newhouse digital products, though they have also launched replica editions of some of their newspapers inside the App Store.

The announcement this morning may have promised a "digitally focused" company, but it should be noted that the announcement does not mention the launch of any new digital products, or change to its current website.

The Gambit, the local alternative weekly, reacted immediately to the NYT story with its own post early this morning (very early this morning!).
The fear in the T-P newsroom this week has been that the paper would follow "the Michigan model." In Michigan, Newhouse cut the print frequency of several state papers, wrapping them into "" — the website that serves as the papers' online partners, much as is the online partner of The Times-Picayune.

It was that first rolled out the internally despised "yellow journalism" design that was recently rolled out with great fanfare by Slammed by readers, the "yellow journalism" template has also been unpopular with the reporters whose work appears there.

Millennial Media's Q1 Mobile Mix Report shows continued growth of tablets, mobile online video

Millennial Media, the mobile advertising platform company, today released its Q1 Mobile Mix Report which showed the continued growth of tablets.

The report measures the impressions of on Millennial Media's ad platform and determines its source. What it found was that tablets, what it labels non-phone mobile devices, now account for 20 percent of all impressions, up from 15 percent one year ago.
PhotobucketThe company also provided a forecast for tablet shipments that shows that the category could grow to 198 million units in 2016.

"Tablets and other non-phone connected devices have established a clear role in the growing mobile ecosystem," Jamie Fellows, SVP, Product, Millennial Media is quoted in the report. "The substantial quarterly growth of impressions in this category is tied to both increased usage and adoption, and we expect this trend to continue in the foreseeable future."

The report shows that Android continues to be the leading mobile platform and that Android phones were found to make up 14 of the top 20 mobile phone sets. The iPhone, however, continues to be the number one individual mobile phone.

The market share for feature phones continues to shrink, as measured by impressions. As of Q1 of this year, Millennial Media saw that features phones accounted for only 7 percent of all mobile devices (including tablets), while it accounted for 23 percent one year. Non-phone devices such as tablets grew to 20 percent from 15 percent.
Apple remained the number one overall manufacturer on the Millennial Media platform, accounting for 28.32 percent of ad impressions. Samsung is number two at 18.25 percent, followed by HTC at 11.30 percent and Motorola at 10.60 percent.

But the iPhone remains by far the most popular single model, accounting for 15.1 percent of ad impressions on the network, versus the BlackBerry Curve at 4.44 percent, and the Motorola Droid RAZR at 4.0 percent. Samsung's most popular phone on the network, accounting for the fourth most impressions, is the Samsung Droid Charge at 3.43 percent.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

H-P beats analyst estimates, but earnings drop, while CEO says 27,000 employees will soon be out of work

I have to admit that the financial websites and newspapers that lead their stories with the word "analysts" are now forever to be ignored. An "analyst" is someone with a quarter that will tell you what you need to know, once they flip the damn thing.

So when the first word out of the Hewlett-Packard earnings conference call was "beat analyst estimates" I knew it would be a while before I got the real story. And here it is:

H-P reported Q2 earnings this afternoon, and they weren't pretty, though they weren't horrible, either: Revenue fell 2.8 percent to $30.7 billion, and income declined to $1.6 billion, from $2.3 billion a year ago.

"We exceeded out previously provided outlook and are executing against our strategy,” H-P CEO Meg Whitman said in the earnings statement. “We still have a lot of work to do.”

That work apparently involves cutting some 8 percent of the workforce, of 27,000 employees. Not surprisingly, Wall Street loves the job cuts as the H-P stock is climbing in after hours trading. (I have no words.)

The H-P news this afternoon came 24 hours after Dell forecast its Q2 earnings saying that revenue would be total between $14.7 billion and $15 billion. Dell's Q2 does not end until July.

“In my own interactions with larger customers, we are seeing a delay and a pause in spending activity,” Michael Dell, the company's chief exec said yesterday. The stock proceeded to get hammered.

Another tech/new media company that reported earnings this afternoon was Oakland-based Pandora. Pandora reported that it lost $20.2 million in its first quarter on revenue of $80.8 million.

The company beat analyst estimates, so, of course, the stock is rising.

But, in this case, I suppose there is some reason for optimism: Pandora's revenue is growing rapidly, up 58 percent over last year, and it is growing both its paid subscriber base as well as its overall user base (now over 50 million).

"This quarter Pandora averaged more than 50 million active users a month who generated more than 3.09 billion listening hours across Pandora's multiple platforms – desktop, auto, consumer electronics, and mobile devices," Joe Kennedy, Chairman & CEO of Pandora said in their earnings statement.

The company is projecting that next years total revenue will be between $420 million and $427 million.

Publishers and vendors alike debate the merits of free digital issues for paid print subscribers, but readers are pretty consistent in their opinions

For the past two weeks I have been quietly calling up a randomly chosen group of publishers and vendors to get their opinions about the issue of charging print subscribers for digital issues. I wanted to know whether the issue came down to technology, costs or business philosophy.

I'd like to report that I found a definite answer, but instead I found that publishers and vendors alike have their reasons for supporting one approach or another.

There are at least three reasons why publishers told me that they believe publishers should charge print subscribers for digital editions:

Bonnier charges print readers for digital editions.
  • A few publishers expressed the view that readers should be charged, period. One said that they, publishers, made a mistake giving away their web products, and they weren't going to make that mistake again.
  • One publisher (and at least one vendor) mentioned that since their digital editions were enhanced, or completely redesigned, they really weren't charging print customers for the same product. The way they saw it, their digital editions (usually for the iPad) were new digital publications.
  • Another issue concerned technology: these publishers simply were not equipped to authenticate subscribers and so the easy way out involved charging everyone
MSLO gives print readers access
to their digital editions free.
Vendors often had good reasons to promote charging print subscribers, as well:
  • Some replica makers employ a revenue share approach. At least one vendor still encourages their publishing customers to charge for their apps. But most do not, but instead share revenue on digital subscription sales. This approach leads to lower up front costs for the publisher, though the resulting product is usually not very reader friendly.
  • One vendor that provides native design solutions subscribed (if you will) to the idea that the native tablet editions were separate products from print and therefore should be charged.
In the end, most arguments for charging, though, seemed to be heavily built into the sales process: digital editions will make publishers money so charge, charge, charge.

Publishers who allow print subscribers to log into their accounts to obtain their digital issues free of charge were generally larger in size. For them, the added costs of authentication was almost an afterthought, the key was keeping those print readers subscribing.

I did not come across any vendors who were strongly in adamant in their view that publishers should offer digital editions free to print subscribers, but the few that were leaning that way saw it as a way to help out the circulation folk.

Despite the wide range of opinion among publishers and vendors, readers are consistent in their dislike of the paid strategy. Even a well-designed digital edition gets a large number of one-star reviews in the App Store if the app requires print subscribers to pay again.

The argument that a natively designed tablet edition should be paid for has merit, but if the print subscriber can not see that the digital edition is different, better, it is difficult to make the reader see the logic in double paying. Free preview issues and well written app descriptions can help here.

The alumni magazine for the Academy of Art University in San Francisco gets its own natively designed tablet app

Alumni magazine are great recruitment tools for schools. But one problem with them is that the student prospect remains unknown until the either make an inquiry, apply or take a campus tour.

But a digital magazine, found in the App Store – either inside Newsstand or not – is one way to reach these students (as well as other alums).
The quarterly alumni magazine for the Academy of Art University, located in San Francisco, made its App Store debut today. The free app, placed inside the Newsstand, offers all readers the ability to download newly designed digital issues free of charge.
A/Journal shows that media designers are far ahead of the Chronicle or other newspapers in the Bay Area. Why this is remains a mystery, but it certainly does not reflect well on the state of the area's press.

The app is probably one of those that will not garner thousands upon thousands of downloads, but it will serve its purpose well – keeping alumni informed, and providing prospective students with a look at the school and those who have attended.

Left: the navigation page; Middle: the splash page, which goes by so quickly that I thought I'd capture it for you; Right: the table of contents.

Here is a short walk through the new A/Journal app for the iPad:

Martha Stewart Weddings Magazine nearly breaks the one gigabyte mark with its new iPad edition

The fourth tablet edition from Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia has been released and the app confirms what many publishers were fearing, that file sizes would explode. The Summer 2012 issue to be found inside the library of the newly released app Martha Stewart Weddings Magazine is 955 MB in size when the download is for the new iPad, almost breaking the one gig mark (is there a prize for the first to do it?).
All four tablet editions from Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia are native designed starting with the flagship title, Martha Stewart Living, originally released in November of 2010. Whole Living, released just last month, featured a file size of 358 MB, puny in comparison to this new app.

The staff behind this new app must be fully aware that the file size will scare some people. Inside the app description are these words of wisdom:

Note: Download time will be longer on the new iPad because this issue is optimized for the Retina display in all its high-resolution glory. But please be patient, it's worth the wait!"

The download is fairly quick, though the start and stop nature of the download did worry me. Besides, one has to be concerned that some readers will see the download as lasting longer than a Las Vegas wedding.

But once the download is complete there is certainly lots to like about the digital magazine. The Summer issue is packed with animations, though one has to admit that cutting back in this area would reduced the file size a bit.

Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia continue to offer their digital editions free to their print subscribers, guaranteeing them far less one-star reviews. Single issues can be purchased for $4.99, though this seems a poor way to get the magazine as monthly subscriptions are only $0.99 per month. The publisher is also offering one month free for signing up, as well.

Here is the obligatory video walk-through – a bit longer this time because of the amount of content in the issue. Much has been left out of the video and the low-resolution video does not do the graphics of the digital magazine justice.

Alcatel-Lucent introduce new line of Internet core routers which promise improved speed and efficiency; company would compete with Cisco and Juniper in $4 billion market

Santa Clara-based Alcatel-Lucent announced that it was entering the Internet core router business with what it claims is a "breakthrough technology" that will improve the speed and efficiency of the routers used in delivery of Internet traffic. The new family of routers will be marketed as the Alcatel-Lucent 7950 XRS.
Alcatel-Lucent, which now controls the old Bell Labs, will be competing in this market with Cisco and Juniper.

“The new digital economy demands constant and rapid evolution of the networks that manage and deliver data traffic, connecting the hand of consumers with their content and applications in the cloud," said Ben Verwaayen, Chief Executive of Alcatel-Lucent. "Our market entry is the data equivalent of revolutionizing telephone exchanges. It will enable our customers to optimize the delivery of Internet video, gaming, photo sharing and data-hungry business applications.”

The company said it had been working on the technology for over three years and that it says its new core routers will deliver "a five-fold improvement in capacity and performance as well as energy savings of 66 percent compared with today’s typical IP core routers."

The first of the new routers, the 7950 XRS-20, is in trial now and will begin shopping next quarter. The other two core routers, the larger 7950 XRS-40 and the smallest, the 7950 XRS-16c, will be available early next year.

Powering the new routers is the company's FP3 400G network processor, which the company developed in-house, and they say will quadruple network speeds.

“For over a decade we have invested in advanced silicon and software technology, most recently demonstrated by our breakthrough network processor chipset, FP3, announced in June 2011. Now we are applying this technology to the largest nodes in the Internet, core routers,” Basil Alwan, president of the company’s Internet Protocol division, said in the company's announcement. “Our 7950 XRS core router systems sit at the massive intersections of the Internet, where billions of individual messages are directed to the correct destinations every second. Our technology will provide more capacity and more flexible traffic management with reduced energy consumption, helping to ensure better performance from global broadband networks.”

The core router business is a $4 billion market, but entering it will present challenges as company's will be hesitant to invest in new systems without serious motivation – either because the timing is right, or they feel they will be left behind by new technology introduced.

"Most customers don't want to be bothered with a new system unless there's a meaningful benefit. But this is an inflection point, allowing our customers to stay ahead of demand," Alwan said yesterday.

If Alcatel-Lucent can crack the market, however, this new product line could provide consumers with an improved broadband experience beginning next year and beyond.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Groupe CANAL+ launches iPad editions for their cable and satellite television magazines in one app

The French television provider Groupe CANAL+ has launched a new iPad app which provides its customer with free access to its two customer magazines, CANAL+ Magazine and CANALSAT.

The tablet editions inside the app, formally called Les magazines CANAL+/CANALSAT, are completely native in design, available in landscape orientation – which makes sense since this is the shape of one's television screen.

New iPad resolution image here.
The tablet editions are free of charge, of course, and can be subscribed to through the app.

The tablet edition seen here in this post, CANAL+, is filled with animation as well as some video content. The layouts and general design are very well done. Unfortunately, one can not tell how large the file is one is downloading (at least not on the library page). But the good news is that the download is pretty quick, though I should report that the app crashed when the download was complete.

These are superior tablet editions, especially when compared to what many U.S. publishers are launching. Many European publishers from France, Italy and other nations have been quick to launch replica editions, but this new app for the new magazines from Groupe CANAL+ are a good sign that some media companies are willing to experience with the tablet platform.

A short walk through the issue of CANAL+ currently available in the newly launch iPad app:

Retweet: CNET looks at Amazon's move into content; will losing publisher lawsuit force Apple into content, as well?

CNET's Jay Green this morning has a post up that talks about Amazon and its move into publishing. How Amazon is changing the rules for books and movies touches on how the online retailer is beginning to effect the way books are published, and movies produced.

The transition from content delivery to content creation is an old one – think, for instance, of HBO's move from distributor of films to the creator of both films and television programming.

But it may seem strange for a retailer to go in this direction, but it shouldn't, since the best example of this is right in your refrigerator: all those store brands are now competing with the more familiar national brands, and often are produced by them as well. It's called private labeling.

Amazon, with its smaller margins, would be a natural for this approach. Creating and selling your own content can, in theory, improve margins. It is precisely the reason most people think a company like Apple would avoid getting into publishing and entertainment production themselves: they are making tons of money being the middle man.

But the current lawsuit involving Apple and book publishers, combined with Amazon's push, may force their hand.

In some ways, the launch of iBooks Author was a baby step in this direction. The eBook publishing software allows publishers to create their own eBooks, but it also allows authors to bypass the entire publishing industry. But it is a very minor move in this direction – no popular author would want to be a self-publisher unless they are doing so for very personal reasons. Stephen King or J. K. Rowling could do it, but the vast majority of authors would discover the pains of self-publishing.

No, what we really are talking about is popular media: television, film, and the like. In a world where their empire is at risk because content is being withheld, a company with huge cash reserves like Apple could easily move into content creation on a massive scale.

When you read Jay Green's post think about this: if you were competing against a company that was, in essence, competing against media producers, and your own efforts to work with those media producers was dealt a blow by the the Justice Department, might you conclude that the best way to compete is to become a media content creator yourself?

Apple, it is rumored, is working hard to negotiate content deals for its Apple TV products – both current and imagined. No doubt the networks and producers are playing hard ball because their whole business model centers on their relationships with the cable TV providers. Success at breaking the distribution paradigm would, many believe, blow up the whole TV distribution model. But failure at this could also force change. Apple would be forced to either give up its plans, or go to Plan B – fund your own content.

It's interesting and fun to think about – unless you are in the publishing, television or film industries.

In the race between the car and the horse, there are some publishers betting on the horse: in some cases, replica editions make a mockery of the tablet platform

Watching the App Store, and in particular, the Newsstand, one sees a lot of new magazine and newspaper apps. Most are unimaginative replica editions sold by vendors taking advantage of the ignorance of publishers. Occasionally one comes across an app that is genuinely worth talking about such as the first tablet edition from Australia's The Intermedia Group – an app that understands what the platform demands of a publication to be "read" on a tablet.

Most replicas, on the other hand, are rather inoffensive. In fact, sometimes a replica is probably the way to go: a magazine that relies on photography, for instance, can look great in replica form as long as the resolution is right.
The replica form has some advantages, of course. They are generally cheaper to produce than native apps, and the production work is limited. Replica makers will say that their replicas can be made interactive. This is absolutely true, but is also irrelevant. A publisher that goes with a replica usually is trying to avoid any additional work and is therefore less likely to make their replicas truly interactive.

If the publisher's goal is a true tablet magazine, one that takes advantage of the tablet's features, the publisher will eventually understand that they need a design system that is dedicated to the platform. A good example of this truth is the original team that worked on the Popular Science iPad app: they first produced digital editions using a replica platform before moving on to create what later became the Mag+ platform. (Read about the history of that app and more here and here.)

But sometimes one sees a replica edition app released into the App Store and one can not help but fall on the floor laughing. "What were they thinking?" is what goes through my head. The answer, of course, is always "they weren't."

Two such media apps appeared this morning: Tips & Tricks Series, a universal Newsstand app that shows a cover talking about the iPad, and Hawaii Drive Guides Magazines, a traveler's guides to the islands. Both apps were sold to their publishers by PixelMags.

If one doesn't see the irony in a digital magazine that talks about the iPad, that is designed for print, but is converted to the iPad... Then there is the driving guide magazine that can not take advantage of GPS, the built-in camera, etc.

Obviously, I could go on forever about why these are such a terrible idea. But does it really matter? There will be many, many more of these. In fact, of the last 300 media apps launched into the Newsstand, almost 90 percent of them appear to be replica editions – music magazines without audio, visual magazines without slideshows or video, travel magazines that don't use location services, etc.

I bet that if these replica makers were around at the end of the twenties they would sold the film studios on their own idea of talkies – a guy standing on the stage reading the intertitles.

Monday, May 21, 2012

The Intermedia Group releases its first tablet edition for IF, a trade magazine for the film industries of Australia and New Zealand

Some publishers wait to launch their first tablet editions because they are debating whether to support the platform, some publishers are seeking an easy, low cost digital publishing solution, and some publishers are simply waiting to create a product they can be proud of.
I don't know why the Australian B2B publisher has waited so long to release their first tablet edition, but they can certainly be proud of the effort put into IF Magazine, a very well designed and produced digital edition for the film industry in Australia and New Zealand.

The new iPad app for IF (Inside Film) allows readers to download three issues of the bi-monthly magazine, the latest being the April-May issue. Individual issues cost $4.99 ($5.49 AUS), with annual subscriptions priced at $24.99 ($25.99 AUS).

The issues are designed to be read in landscape, which saves file size – something that is vitally important if you are going to load your tablet edition with video.

Should a digital magazine about film contain video? Doesn't that sound like a positively stupid question. But sadly many U.S. produced digital editions have been simply replica editions without any video at all. And as for Variety, well, just compare the vision behind that that iPad app and this one for IF (hint, there is no comparison).

If there is to be any complaint about this natively designed tablet edition it is simply that it does not allow subscribers to sign into their accounts so they are not charged twice for issues. But since so many publishers are doing this I can only suspect that this is being done for one of two reasons: either the publisher has no way to authenticate subscribers and so is taking the easy way out, or they want to make readers choose between print and digital.

The Sydney-based publisher has quite a number of titles in their stable, so we can only hope that the reaction to this tablet edition is positive enough to encourage them to continue to launch iPad apps.

Here is a short tour of the new app which shows some of the video content, and gives you a good idea of the general design of this very well done digital edition:

Google Chrome passes Internet Explorer to become the world's most popular web browser; IE still holds on to slim lead in the U.S.

StatCounter Global Stats is reporting that for the first time Google's Chrome web browser has passed Microsoft's Internet Explorer (IE) to become the world's most popular way to surf the web. IE remains number one in the United States, though its popular is falling quickly.

While worldwide Chrome is growing fast at the expense of IE, in the US all browsers are taking market share from Microsoft's web browser.

It should be noted, however, that not all other reporting sites are showing Chrome number one, though the growth of browsers other than IE remains consistent. On TNM, IE is actually the number four browser, behind Chrome, Safari and Firefox. The high number of Safari users, at about 25 percent, can probably be chalked up to iPad users, which accounts for over 97 percent of all traffic coming from tablets.

Despite this trend it is clear that many media websites have still not adjusted to the growth of Chrome. The Washington Post site, for instance, still will deliver a text version of any story opened from the home page in Chrome (at least on a Mac).

Bonnier updates Saveur and Garden Design; Medical publisher Bryn Mawr Comm. launches series of replicas

Bonnier this weekend updated a couple of its tablet editions, Saveur and Garden Design. The app descriptions state that the update is designed to fix a bug involving the apps start-up, fixing a freezing issue.
Neither of these apps use the Mag+ platform which Bonnier was involved with developing. Instead, both tablet editions are replica editions, which is especially disappointing in the case of Saveur where the tablet platform offers so many new possibilities for a magazine involved in both cooking and world travel.

For most readers inside the App Store, however, the biggest issue with the Bonnier apps remains the company's insistance that print subscribers pay again for the digital editions.

Another issue with the apps is the language used in the app description to tell readers of the preview. A magazine preview inside a Newsstand app is that short look at the tablet edition, usually a half dozen to a dozen pages. The Bonnier app description refers to a "preview issue", making it seem as if the app is offering a full issue for free. Later in the app description, it is stated "If you like it, buy the full issue for US$4.99 or subscribe."

The proper language that should be used, of course, would be "issue preview" rather than "preview issue".

Four weeks ago TNM looked at some medical magazines released for the iPad by the B2B publisher Bryn Mawr Communications (see here).
This weekend the publisher continued releasing apps for additional titles in their portfolio including the two titles seen here: Cataract & Refractive Surgery Today and Advanced Ocular Care.

Additional titles receiving their first apps are Retina Today, NewDermMD, DermPerspectives, Glacoma Today, Cutaneous Oncology Today, Cataract & Refractive Surgery Today Europe, and Practical Dermatology.

The company continues to use Paperlit to create these replica editions.