Friday, August 10, 2012

Apple's U.S. iPad sales revealed as part of Samsung patent trial, breakout assists publishers evaluating the market for their new digital editions

By far the number question I get asked by publishers looking to launch new tablet editions is what the market penetration of the iPad is in their particular country. Sorry, I haven't a clue and can only guess.

In fact, Apple, while more open about their sales numbers than a number of other tech companies, their Form 1-Q reports do not break out sales by country by product. What Apple does report is total revenue by region and then the total number of units worldwide. Because of this, it has been hard to calculate how many iPads, for instance, have been sold in the U.S. versus worldwide.

But the Samsung-Apple patent trial has opened up some information. This allows us to update our ongoing table of tablet sales with a little more detail:
First a note: I first saw these figures on AppleInsider and I assume they were reproduced from the court docs. The figures reported appear to reflect the normal calendar rather than the fiscal calendar, so I have adjusted the numbers, moving them into the proper fiscal quarter. The original iPad was released on April 3, 2010 with the international launch date of May 28, 2010 – that would be Apple's third quarter.

What I find striking here is that worldwide sales, excluding the U.S., are much higher, quicker, than I had thought. While 84 million iPad units sold worldwide impresses me, 34 million in the U.S. is hard to evaluate – is this a good number or are we a quarter or two away from really being able to say the iPad has reached a critical level of market penetration?

Having said that, court docs also show that Samsung's total U.S. sales of tablets so far only total 1.438 million units, a pretty pathetic number in comparison to the iPad.

How many households does 34 million iPads represent? That is hard to say, isn't it? I own two iPads, but I know of many households without any. (The latest census shows that there are approximately 114.8 million households in the U.S., by the way. Now get out your calculators!)

Knowing that Samsung is getting crushed by Apple pretty much reinforces the strategies being worked by many publishing companies: develop mobile for iOS and Android, but develop tablet editions primarily for iOS and leave Android tablets for replica editions (such as Zinio).

The next number I'd love to see revealed is a solid number from Amazon of total Kindle Fire sales.

Readers react to journalist attacks on the tablet publishing platform: "What the hell's wrong with these people"

The barrage of articles questioning the commercial potential of tablet publications has caused some TNM readers to react with, well, rage. "What's wrong with these people" one reader asked me yesterday. Several others emailed me to ask my opinion of articles such as the one on the Adweek site or several concerning The Daily and its recent downsizing.

The general feeling is that these writers are premature in posting obituaries on a platform – a platform that did not even exist before April of 2010, a mere 28 months ago. The Daily, for instance, won't celebrate (if that is the right word) its two year anniversary until February of next year.

The problem, of course, is that so many writers have made a game of things: there are Apple fanboys and haters, Android fanboys and haters, for instance. Market share stories and rumors dominate the tech media world.

Some media observers love to call attention to themselves in embarrassing ways and somehow get away with it. This guy famously dismissed the iPad saying "I simply don’t see a good use for the machine" and still gets invited to speak at events put on by the Guardian and others.

Being dead wrong about the iPad or the platform, in general, has few negative consequences. After all, the folks who said we needed to go to war in Iraq to get rid of Saddam's nukes are still appearing on CNN and Fox News.

It's not just media gurus who are providing what John Gruber likes to call claim chowder, many of our industry's trade journals are not exactly leading the charge towards a mobile and tablet publishing future. None of the leading ad trade magazines have yet to appear on the iPad – and you won't find the newspaper or magazine trade journals in Newsstand either.

Why is this? Part of the reason lies in the backward nature of the U.S. B2B industry, an industry dominated by PE firms that would rather cut than invest.* But even web based B2Bs like Poynter initially were negative towards the iPad and tablet publications, saying "publications with paid-content strategies will want to avoid Apple’s in-app payment system anyway." As it turns out, the opposite proved true and the vast majority of publishers learned that being inside Newsstand was the way to go (only financial publications have found any success staying outside the App Store).

But I also hear a sense of frustration in the voices of many writers. Apple and Google are moving on and the media world just can't seem to influence things. The New York Times Co. reported quarterly revenue of $515 million in Q2, less than the revenue Apple generated in two weeks last quarter. Publishing companies are just not powerful enough to shape the new digital platforms – they are followers in this space, not leaders.

The largest manufacturer of printing presses may be big players in the industry, but their customers, the publishers, still can influence them. The same is not true of either the web or makers of smartphones and tablets. No article in the Chicago Tribune is going to force Apple to make a change to its products it doesn't already want to make.

In a month Apple will hold its event for the new iPhone, other events with other product introductions will occur around the same time and into the holidays season. Watch for the mood of many tech and media websites to change, at least for a while.

In the end, those involved in the web, mobile and tablet space are in the right place. As I asked one reader who seemed more than a bit upset over all the negativity in the press, "where would you rather be, writing for a legacy print title? or making tablet magazines?" "Yeah," the reader admitted, "I feel sorry for those guys."

* It should be noted that a number of B2Bs have launched tablet editions. Northstar Publishing has three replica edition apps in the Newsstand, and other B2Bs like Macfadden, GIE Media and Cygnus are in the App Store, as well – often using apps created by their printer or other digital publishing vendors. Few B2Bs have moved on to creating their own natively designed tablet publications, but it is only a matter of time several digital publishing solutions companies have told me.

Google celebrates the gold medal soccer matches with a new doodle game

The Olympics are winding down this weekend with the closing ceremonies on Sunday. Yesterday the U.S. women's team won the gold medal in football in an exciting final against Japan – Canada defeated France 1-0 to win the bronze.

Tomorrow Brazil meets Mexico in the men's final (the U.S. men's team didn't qualify, which seems like an embarrassing failure until you realize that Germany and Italy didn't qualify either).

This morning Google has a new doodle up on its site, a soccer game. If you are reading this on an iPad, however, you won't be able to play the game so I've made a little video for you.

The doodle on the iPad links to a page which shows the Olympics soccer results, while the desktop version will let you reload the doodle to play again.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Media app updates: The NYT adds offline reading to its election mobile app; The Economist tries to work out subscriber access issues; AP, CNN also issue updates

A number of important media app updates were issued this morning, some to work out bugs, others adding functionality.

The New York Times updated its NYTimes Election 2012 this morning to add offline reading capability to the app, as well as to fix some bugs.

The NYT remains a sluggish and apparently unenthusiastic developer of media app, despite the incredible potential they possess. The company has six iPhone apps and two for the iPad, and none so far for any of their popular staffers.

But the NYT's election app was certainly a good idea. The app extends the benefits of a paid digital subscription, and the paper has plenty of graphics and blogging content to offer.

The Economist issued another update for The Economist for iPad as its tries to fix its subscriber issues.

But curiously, despite frequent updates, the app description starts with this: "Latest issue January 7th 2012". Oops.

The Associated Press issued an extensive update to its universal news app, AP Mobile. The update adds new social network sharing through LinkedIn, and the ability to save content to Evernote, a popular note taking application (and an app that seems to be in bad need for an update itself, if the negative user reviews inside the App Store are to be believed).

Finally, CNN Interactive Group issued an update for its CNN App for iPad. The app description only says "bug fixes," but one should assume the update is related to frequent crashes being reported by users.

The Boston Herald releases a new tablet edition, developed by NewspaperDirect

The Boston Herald, formerly owned by Rupert Murdoch, but now part of the GateHouse Media chain, is another of the many newspaper companies that outsources its app development. Last spring I wrote about its baseball app, Boston Herald Baseball 2011 (now 2012, of course), developed by DoApp, which I praised as the paper was one of the few (at the time) that was launching apps for what previously had been print special sections.

Since last spring the Herald has released other DoApp developed apps for the Patriots, Bruins and Celtics, as well as a holiday gift guide. DoApp also developed the main news mobile app – which, by the way, appears under the developer's name rather than the Boston Herald's.
Today the paper released a tablet edition, this one developed by NewspaperDirect. I've praised the new apps from NewspaperDirect because of their e-editions are fairly reader friendly, though I continue to question the idea of basing a tablet edition off the print edition as layouts can be awkward.

Tabloids would appear to have an advantage in that their size and page orientation is closer to the native size of the iPad. But if a paper's print page is ugly, gaudy and decidedly old fashioned, it will appear even worse on the display of the iPad. That is one reason why so many users complain about low resolution photos and pages of those magazines and newspapers that have not adapted their apps to the new iPad.

The Boston Herald is certainly one of those paper's that looks like it is in a time warp, and this is reflected in its new iPad app, Boston Herald e-Edition. The paper's designers, for instance, love to cut out people from photos and drop them into stories, complete with drop shadows. The headlines are large, and the fonts are mixed, and the paper's editors look for the least flattering shots of liberal politicians, while fawning over right wing pols.

I couldn't help think about the local high school paper when reading the Herald – the content may be different, but the design is the same.

Because of this, the new Boston Herald e-Edition will probably appeal to only those currently reading the print edition, and probably no one younger than 50 (I'm assuming younger readers wouldn't be attracted to such an old fashioned looking a paper touting reactionary politics, but I could be wrong).

The NewspaperDirect app can only help so much as the app does offers text versions of stories, in addition to the replica view – but its layouts are automatically generated, leading to some pretty awful looking headlines (see above-right).

Currently the app description features no screenshots of what readers will find inside the app. Maybe this is intentional, or maybe the paper will update its app description with more screenshots, but for now the app looks pretty unattractive in the App Store.

The new e-Edition, once downloaded, will be found inside Apple's Newsstand, and print subscribers can access their issues for free. New readers can buy single editions for $0.99, or purchase a one-month subscription for $9.99.

NPR News updates its iPhone app, shows other developers how app descriptions should be written

It isn't news that most media companies are great at telling about others, but awful when having to disclose information about themselves. This is probably why many media companies are pretty bad at writing app descriptions – the less said the better.

The absolute worst is Hearst magazines that write condescending app descriptions that always start with something like "Thanks to all our readers for their feedback." They write that because the feedback is negative – "hey, I'm a print subscriber, why are you charging me for digital?"

But every once in a while you look at a media app and you smile in recognition that the people behind the app truly get it.

I think the NPR News app for the iPhone is one of those apps. Their app description reads like a how-to manual of app description writing.

The "Description" is perfectly organized and complete. It not only tells you what to expect in the app, but sells it a bit along the way. It's also written in a manner that shows that the developers are comfortable with the platform.

The "What's New" section starts off like Hearst in that they include that throw away line – "We appreciate your comments" – but then they go to town describing what has been fixed, or what is new with the app.

They don't necessarily have to do this, they could settle for the line "bug fixes", but they don't. In fact, they start with "bug fixes", then go on to detail them. Here is the "What's New" section from the update released today:
We appreciate your comments. Your feedback helps us to improve the app.

This update includes:
* Significant performance enhancements
* Bug Fixes:
- Fixed app crashing on launch
- Fixed app freezing when you “Add All to Playlist” from a Program and when deleting items from your playlist
- Story swiping is much smoother and faster
- When using Airplay and Apple TV, the iPhone device volume buttons now also control the volume on your TV
- When using Bluetooth headphones, pause/play controls now work
- Fixed rare instance where audio stopped backgrounding
* Fixed the "Contact Us" form
* Updated and corrected VoiceOver descriptions
But at the end they a couple of lines that are pretty important. The first lets users know that they they are ending support for those users who have not updated the OS on their devices. In this case, NPR is telling users that those still on iOS 4.2 and 4.3 will no longer get new releases. But they are wise enough to let them know in advance. This release will work, the next won't – better upgrade.

The NPR News app description also tells listeners that because individual NPR stations encode their own streams the quality of those streams will vary. It is a good reminder.

So, well done developers of the NPR News app. Hopefully other media companies will notice things like this and improve their own work in this area.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

News Corp. reports quarterly and year end earnings: publishing becoming a trivial part of Murdoch's empire

News Corp. reported its quarterly and annual earnings today, showing a healthy increase in its annual operating income thanks to its cable holdings which include Fox News, FX and its Regional Sports Networks.

Newspaper watchers will no doubt also see, however, that operating income at News Corp.'s publishing division fell over 30 percent to $597 million, versus $864 last fiscal year.

The company noted that several factors for the decline including ad losses at its Australian and U.K. newspapers, and the the closing of the The News of the World. No mention of the phone hacking scandal and the arrests of its journalists made it into its earnings statement.

(The earnings statement did say that publishing losses were partially offset by gains seen at the Wall Street Journal.)

Revenue was down overall for the quarter, as each industry segment other than cable saw declines. For the year, however, News Corp. recorded a slightly less than one percent increase for the year – again with cable being the healthiest segment, up almsot 14 percent for the year.

News Corp. reported that it took a $2.8 billion charge on the quarter. 'The charge
consisted of a write-down of $1.5 billion of goodwill and a $1.3 billion write-down of the Company’s indefinite-lived intangibles, principally related to the Company’s publishing businesses, most significantly the Australian operations," the earnings statement said, though I must admit I haven't a clue what that is supposed to me. (And apparently the WSJ's Peter Kafka can't decipher it either.)

And now for something completely different: a selection of new CD releases to challenge your ears this summer

Our family avoided the very height of the vacation season and headed for Greece at the end of June. But before heading off I searched for new music to fill my iPhone but only found a few interesting new releases (Ravi Coltrane).

But upon returning I was delighted to find a number of good new CDs had been released which was all for the best since Greece provided its own soundtrack.

So here are a few thoughts on what has been playing on my desktop and iPhone of late. But be forewarned, none of these releases are of the pop variety.

This is about as close to "popular" as I get: the new release from Ravi Coltrane, Spirit Fiction. The first CD released by Coltrane on the Blue Note label, Spirit Fiction has been getting quite a bit of press and very positive reviews.

For me, this is a CD that shows the growing maturity of the artist and it is interesting that it would appear on Blue Note, a label that seems to me to be in another "Liberty Music" phase (the time in the early '70s when the label seemed to lose its way).

Here is a Stereophile review from Fred Kaplan.

Ravi Coltrane – Spirit Fiction: Blue Note Records, iTunes, Amazon.

For the past six months I've been playing a lot of music by a Galician pianist by the name of Abe Rábade. Rábade was born in Santiago de Compostela and studied music at the Berklee College of Music in Boston. I'm always on the look out for new jazz and felt like a fool for not having heard of this brilliant musician before this last year.

Rábade is not only a very good improviser, but is a very creative composer and arranger – his larger ensemble CDs are well worth searching for.

His new trio release, A Modo, with Pablo Martin Caminero (bass) and Bruno Pedroso (drums), is made up of seven complex and challenging pieces that will reward careful and repeated listening.

A look inside Amazon or iTunes shows absolutely no reviews and that is truly a shame – but that there are few reviews in the jazz press probably reflects the state of that institution rather than the quality of this music.

If you venture to acquire A Modo you should also check out one of his two ensemble CDs, Open Doors or Ghu!, or Nordestin@s, a CD of Galician traditional music.

Abe Rábade – A Modo: Nuba Records, iTunes, Amazon

If you love classical music, especially 'period' music, you are very familiar with Jordi Savall. His discography begins in the late sixties and is filled with an incredible range of music from medieval to Mozart.

Lately Savall has been releasing CDs in the form of projects of interest to him. Released on his own label, these projects are published as two and three CD sets complete with liner notes that can sometimes reach over 400 pages thanks to extensive histories and the inclusion of multiple languages.

His latest release, Jeanne D'Arc - Battles & Prisons, is a more modest collection compared to previous such projects. But Jeanne D'Arc is important if only for the fact that features Montserrat Figueras in one of her last recordings before her death earlier this year.

Savall describes his project CD this way: "Our CD-books are characterized by their presentation of a selection of music and texts which bear a direct relation to certain specific moments in history, a history to which we endeavor to give a spoken voice - in this case, that of Joan and her contemporaries (witnesses and inquisitors at her trials) - and its corresponding soundtrack.­"

Savall's CD projects can be difficult to buy here in the U.S., and often quite expensive. My suggestion is to buy direct from the label. If one is committed to downloading, though, be aware that while the Amazon download is only $8.99 none of the supporting material is included. The iTunes download costs more, but at least includes some digital booklet material, though not all of the notes.

Hespèrion XXI, Jordi Savall & Montserrat Figueras – Jeanne D’Arc - Batailles & Prisons: Alia-Vox, iTunes, Amazon

The Italian group Gatto Marte released its first CD in 1997, Danae, and while all their recordings are worth checking out, none seemed to me to quite hit the highs found in that first release.

But the group's latest CD, Marte Sulla Luna, may well be their best. It is certainly their most mature and interesting work in quite a while. The group is not exactly your standard rock ensemble: Maximilian Brooks, piano, Nino Cotone, violin, Pietro Lusvardi, double bass, and until the last CD, Giuseppe Brancaccio, bassoon.

Progarchives lists Gatto Marte is RIO, a label that has lost its original meaning and now just means complicated, avant garde rock. The label doesn't really fit Gatto Marte who are much more classical oriented, mixed with a little jazz.

The good news for those willing to venture out and check out new music is that iTunes has seven of the CDs available for download, as does Amazon. Finding that first CD, Danae, may prove a challenge, however.

Gatto Marte – Marte Sulla Luna: Self-released, iTunes, Amazon

Condé Nast updates its app for The New Yorker Magazine, adding a natively designed iPhone edition

Last night Condé Nast Digital updated its iOS app for The New Yorker Magazine, transforming the app from previously only for the iPad into a universal app, adding in native support for the iPhone (and iPod touch, of course).
Condé Nast, of course, has been working with Adobe Systems for its tablet editions, and with the addition of iPhone app solutions, can now start issuing updates to its portfolio of apps.

The update will allow iPhone users to sample the magazine on their devices as Condé Nast has opted to include a free issue with the download of the app.

The subscription model has not changed: monthly subscriptions are available for $5.99 per month, while an annual subscription are $59.99. (Don't forget, The New Yorker is a weekly.)

Print subscribers can log into their accounts to access the issues for no additional charge, and one assumes the same will apply for those who have subscribed through their tablets.

The iPhone edition is natively designed, and because of its text rendering will be a much smaller download. The latest issue weighs in at only 27MB.

Inside one will be able to read a digital edition designed for the platform, complete with specially designed advertising including a house ad of sorts for Adobe (see video below).

The reading experience is excellent, though I'll admit I don't enjoy reading on my iPhone nearly as much as I used to (I've become spoiled by the iPad, I suppose). But lots of iPhone users like to read on their devices and now Condé Nast will be able to reach those readers – and with a far superior product than those replica editions that are so dependent on pinch to zoom.

Look for lots more apps to go universal as many digital publishing platforms are now supporting iPhone editions – Adobe and Mag+ being two such companies adding support.

Here is a brief look at the updated app for The New Yorker, including part of the Adobe video found inside the latest issue:

The media world frets about declining newsstand sales for magazines and down play gains seen in digital editions

The numbers that came out of the Audit Bureau of Circulations (ABC) certainly grabbed the attention of many media watchers: newsstand sales of magazine titles fell nearly ten percent, though overall the report was not nearly so bad (circulation overall was essentially flat).

While the New York Post headline Keith Kelly's story Newsstand nightmare, his story blandly recounted the numbers: total paid subscriptions grew one percent to 260 million, not really too bad considering the state of the economy.

Most reports failed to even mention the loss of newsstands across the country. The collapse of Borders, one of the largest sellers of magazines in many communities, has already been relegated to the history books, despite the fact that many stores are still seen, sad and empty, on street corners across the country.

For, the story was that digital replica editions only make "a tiny sliver" of total magazine sales. The absurd headline takes the only good news from the ABC reports and turns it on its head: 5.4 million digital editions were counted in this report compared to just 2 million in the last – and this figure only reflects the 258 magazines that are now reporting their digital numbers according to ABC rules.

Missing from the list of top magazines selling digital replica editions was any magazines from Time Inc. which only recently began selling subscriptions inside the Apple Newsstand. But the top listed magazines did show impressive digital sales with Game Informer Magazine leading all magazines in reporting digital replica sales (over 1.2 million), while more traditional best sellers like Maxim, Cosmopolitan and National Geographic are at the top of the list, as well.

It should be noted that each of the top digital sellers are located in the Apple Newsstand and are selling subscriptions through their apps – going against the advice offered by many leading media gurus who advised publishers to avoid working with Apple.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

The San Diego Union-Tribune launch two new iPad apps: Chargers Insider is ready for the new football season, while U-T Sunday Magazine is just plain not ready

The San Diego Union-Tribune, which last November was sold by Platinum Equity to local real estate investor Doug Manchester, has just released two new iPad apps, one in support of the local football team, one for its Sunday magazine.

Chargers Insider has been released just in time for the upcoming football season – the preseason begins this week.

The new sports magazine app joins Padres Insider which was released before the start of the baseball season (see post written in March). That app for the Padres was free to download and provided the content for free, as well.
But Chargers Insider is requiring that readers pay an annual subscription of $19.99 or buy individual issues for $0.99. Print subscribers, though, can log into their accounts and gain access for no additional charge.

This is probably the way to go: current subscribers free, new readers pay a nominal fee.

Both the Chargers app and the new app for the Sunday magazine use the Mag+ platform.

As for that Sunday magazine, well, it appears the app was released prematurely. Although the app description shows screenshots of the digital magazine to be found inside, the app itself contains nothing but the shell – no issues can currently be found.

It's very possible, now that the app is inside the App Store, that the U-T team will quickly launch some content.

Because the app shows no "Store" tab, I would assume that the Sunday magazine will be available for free. Because of this, I suppose, the developers chose to place U-T Sunday Magazine outside the Apple Newsstand, while Chargers Insider is inside.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Media watchers wonder whether newspapers are giving Sikh shooting in Oak Creek same level of coverage as Aurora shooting, but review of front pages show story leads most daily newspapers

Twitter is rife with media watchers questioning whether the shooting in Oak Creek, Wisconsin of Sikh worshippers is getting the same level of coverage as the Aurora, Colorado shooting. But a look at the Newseum this morning, that wonderful and useful collection of front pages, shows most daily newspapers are leading with the Sikh shooting story.
It is tempting to immediately jump to the conclusion that there is something nefarious going on at newspapers this morning, but the charge seems premature.

Michael Roberts, writing for Westword, jumps all over the Denver Post and the New York Times by showing the Denver Post's soft news front page (it is bad) and also the NYT's website. At least as far as the NYT is concerned he is out of line. The NYT led with the story throughout most of Sunday before the Mars landing took over the top spot around midnight. The story is now holding a top spot on the home page as new information is appearing on the shooter.

The big unknown part of the story of the Oak Creek story is how was the shooter and why did he commit his crime of entering a Sikh temple and shooting dead six worshippers. Police withheld any information on the shooter, who was himself shot dead by police, until this morning. That meant that for much of yesterday evening there was little information beyond what had been available all day Sunday.

Despite the lack of new information, it appears that most daily newspapers led with the shooting story. Newspapers from California to DC placed the story as its lead, or at least at the top of the front page. Even the Denver Post, which Roberts criticized, had the story "above the fold".
The Aurora, Colorado story may appear to have been played up more, but it must be remembered that it was a local story for the Denver Post. Also, since the shooter was captured, there was the added element of wanting to see and hear from the accused. (The timing was also very different. Because the Sikh temple shooting occurred in the morning, national cable news outlets could lead with the story throughout the day.)

Now that the shooter has been identified, Wade Michael Page, a 4-year old white Army veteran with a racist past, the story will naturally shift. The investigators, led by the FBI, are treating the case as a domestic terrorism case. It will be interesting to see if a case of domestic terrorism, committed by a white male against those of another religion will lead to a national discussion of America's national bout of insanity since 9/11.

Millennial Media releases report on mobile ad trends in the travel industry

While the airlines and their custom publishing partners try and figure out their approach to tablet editions, mobile continues to prove to be a boon for the travel industry, in general, as customers use their smartphones and tablets to book flights and hotels, rent cars, and surf travel websites.

Millennial Media has released a report that looks at mobile advertising trends in the category, one that continues to enjoy tremendous growth, while remaining one of the top categories for mobile brand advertising (third behind telecommunications and finance, according to the company).
The July 2012 S.M.A.R.T. Report can be downloaded here.

According to Millennial Media the category grew over 200 percent in the first quarter of the year as travel advertisers looked to reach their customers on the go.

While travelers generally used their mobile devices for personal and business communications such as email and social media, 23 percent of travelers now use their devices for early check-in, while 27 percent now book restaurants through their devices.

According to the Millennial Media report, by far the number one goal of travel ad campaigns is "sustained in-market presence" (62 percent), as opposed to increasing site traffic (second at 16 percent).

Airline magazine tablet editions: British Airways High Life appears in the Newsstand under the replica maker's name

Because the airlines outsource their inflight customer magazines to custom publisher, the route taken to publishing these magazines for tablets is dependent on the commitment of the vendor to the platform. While the airlines certainly see the advantages the mobile and tablet platforms can bring to the travel category, publisher's enthusiasm for the new digital platforms vary.

Today a new tablet edition, British Airways High Life, launched into Apple's Newsstand. British Airways works with Cedar on a range of magazines for including the employee magazine, the onboard shopping magazine, as well as the customer magazine High Life.

But the new tablet edition is now available under the name of the replica maker Page Suite, which means that the app is a universal app, a replica of the print edition – hardly a very creative solution, and one customers are not likely to be thrilled with.

The approach taken by the new BA tablet edition is the polar opposite of that taken by Lufthansa Magazine, a tablet edition that was released a while ago, but was just updated by the developer.

The customer magazine is published by Gruner + Jahr and the app was developed by AppVantage, a Hamburg based developer. The new update moves the magazine into Apple's Newsstand and adds brief previews of each issue available.

Most importantly, the app for Lufthansa appears under the airline's own name, not the name of the publisher or app developer, something I would think most marketers would insist on. But strangely, many airlines allow the onboard magazines to appear in iTunes under the name of the developer. United Airlines Hemispheres Magazine, for instance, appears in the App Store under the name of the publisher, Ink.
In February of this year, Air France launched a very nice tablet edition for its inflight magazine, which the airline works with Gallimard on producing.

One would think most airlines would be eager to see their inflight magazine available in the App Store as it extends the audience far beyond simply those onboard their airlines. But quite a number of inflight magazines remain missing from the Newsstand including American Way from American Airlines and Spirit from Southwest Airlines which is published by Pace