Thursday, March 28, 2013

Morning Brief: NY Magazine to dump PDF replica approach for an updated app that combines free and paid content; banks open in Cyprus after nearly two weeks; BlackBerry reports better earnings, lower revenue

Digiday this morning is reporting that New York magazine will have an update to its iPad app issued soon that will change the app from its current replica edition version now to an app containing both free content and the digital magazine. The app was designed by The Wonderfactory using the Mag+ platform.

“We wanted to have a richer magazine experience, and a PDF didn’t make sense,” Michael Silberman, NY Mag’s digital general manager told Digiday.

With the update to NEW YORK Magazine daily stories will be available for free, with the more than a dozen stories available inside the app for five days.

Gregg Hano, CEO of Mag+, called the new app "a great example of using touchscreen publishing inventively.”

Although the app update has not been released yet (it's due in the store April 1st I'm told), it sounds like the magazine will take a hybrid approach to the tablet edition, where the advertising will appear as in print unless creative is swapped out by the agency or client, and the editorial content will be reformatted for the tablet. This is the approach most major publishers have been taking since it both adheres to circulation auditing guidelines and meets the minimum expectation of most tablet magazine readers.

Banks have reopened in Cyprus today with conflicting reports on the crowds lining up at their local bank. Reuters says crowds have been calm after having to wait nearly two weeks to gain access to their accounts.

"I feel a sense of fear and disappointment having to queue up like this; it feels like a Third World country, but what can you do?" said on pensioner.

Capital controls, though, remain in place, as the government attempts to stem the flow of capital out of the country. All commercial transactions of over €5,000 will be reviewed, and those leaving the island will not be allowed to carry over €1,000 with them.

BlackBerry reported better earnings this morning, showing a quarterly profit of $98 million versus a $125 million loss in the same quarter last year. Revenue was down, however, to $2.7 billion, a 2 percent decline from the previous quarter and 36 percent decline on the same quarter in 2012.

"We have implemented numerous changes at BlackBerry over the past year and those changes have resulted in the company returning to profitability in the fourth quarter," said Thorsten Heins, president and CEO of BlackBerry.

BlackBerry recently launched the Z10 in the AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon networks, and the company said demand has been "better than expected."

"With the launch of BlackBerry 10, we have introduced the newest and what we believe to be the most innovative mobile computing platform in the market today. Customers love the device and the user experience, and our teams and partners are now focused on getting those devices into the hands of BlackBerry consumer and enterprise customers," Heins said in the company's earnings statement.

Despite the optimism, the company reported that it had lost 3 million subscribers in the period, bringing its total base of platform users to 76 million.