Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Newspaper publisher Postmedia Network gets some marketing love from Apple inside the Canadian App Store

Apple's iTunes App Store policy has made a radical shift from promoting developers, in general, to promoting big developers exclusively. Hearst, for instance, now has a promotion named "Read Them Here First" running inside the App Store. As a result of the shift in strategy, Apple's App Store team has made it impossible to find newly released apps unless the downloader has a direct link or already knows the name of the app.

But the U.S. App Store is not the only place where Apple is promoting specific company apps. Today I noticed the promotion going on for the regional newspapers from Postmedia Network. The promotion, under the banner "Regional Papers" can be found in the News category of the Canadian App Store. All of the apps are stand-alone news apps, which is why you won't see the same banner in Newsstand.

The apps are for 11 different newspaper properties and include the Calgary Herald, Edmonton Journal, The Vancouver Sun and The Windsor Star (all Canadian App Store links).

The apps are all universal and were developed by the Halifax company MindSea Development Inc. They are nice news apps, which look a lot like the NYT model, but with added features that make them a bit of an advancement on the web-to-tablet idea.

I like these occasional promotions for apps, but I'm still at a loss as to why they have to be at the expense of a more user friendly App Store, where searching for apps by release date and finding all apps in a category has been eliminated. Has the experience with dealing with so many developers soured Apple to the developer community? It is a strange and highly counterproductive move on Apple's part.

In the meantime, it is good news for the bigger media properties. For Postmedia it may mean some more downloads, though since the apps are free and merely mirror their websites, the positive impact will most likely be minimal.