Monday, May 20, 2013

Morning Brief: The New Yorker and WIRED apps get minor tweaks, as does The Economist; Yahoo's CEO helps the PE firms that invested in Tumblr

Condé Nast Digital rolled out a couple app updates to improve their digital editions. These included an update to The New Yorker Magazine app to improve iPhone 5 display support. The iPhone edition was originally launched in August of last year. WIRED Magazine was also updated, though the app description only mentions "cosmetic fixes" – one of those fixes may have been the app's icon as this month's issue has a concept cover that includes only text against a white background, effective in print but pretty much invisible when seen inside the App Store.

The Economist for iPad was updated:
Dear reader,

This update will, for readers on iOS6 and above, ensure your reading position in the edition is maintained if you navigate away from the application. It also improves the performance and stability of the app. For any assistance please use the in-app help.

Thank you for reading The Economist.

- The Digital editions team

Tumblr's sale, first reported late Friday by the WSJ, was about as inevitable a sell out as there could be. Tumblr's board of investors includes Sequoia Capital, Union Square Ventures and Spark Capital, all firms that put money into the company on the promise that within a few years the company would sell itself to someone so there could be a big pay day. After putting in $125 million the pay day ended up being a $1.1 billion deal with Yahoo.

Tumblr's revenue in 2012 totalled a measly $13 million so why would Tumblr be worth $1.1 billion? The answer is that it's not, but that is just the way the game is played. PE's invest in one company, get sold to another. The execs, like members of Congress play along knowing that one day they, too, will get a payout, either through a PE investing in their company, or else a golden parachute when the time comes.

As for Tumblr, the thought is that its move towards "native advertising" will greatly increase is value, with revenue projected to greatly increase. But the idea that readers won't notice the move to what is essentially PR is highly unlikely – but then again, those that are pushing for native advertising don't think much of their readers anyways.