Friday, April 5, 2013

Late Friday app wrap-up: Australia's nextmedia Pty releases first title into the Apple Newsstand; Morris Digital Works launches tablet app for the Masters Tournament

This has been the week where TNM posted on more tablet magazine apps from Australia than in the previous three years combine - or at least it feels that way. Here is another, the first app from nextmedia Pty to be released into the Apple Newsstand, Science Illustrated.

The new app appears to be a simple replica edition, and a pretty expensive one at that.

Previous apps, such as for ANZ Snowboarding, were stand-alone apps. It looks like the attempt to produce the tablet editions have been abandoned because the app was last updated in August of last year and no new issues are inside since.

Another odd thing about the app is that is looks like an Adobe DPS app, yet the app description refers to PixelMags.

Another native tablet edition is for Waves Magazine, which is designed for landscape reading. It, too, is free of charge, and is definitely worth checking out.

The Augusta Chronicle is one of the oldest newspapers in America, founded in 1785. It is currently owned by Morris Communications. Augusta is also the home of the Masters Tournament (or simply the Masters), which begins on Thursday of next week.

Morris Digital Works LLC, the digital arm of the newspaper company, has released a new Newsstand app tied to the golf tournament called Augusta Golf!. The app offers a preview issue inside for $1.99, then updated tournament coverage for an additional $0.99. There is also a subscription option that would give you the tournament coverage plus quarterly updates throughout the year.

The owners of the actual Masters Tournament usually keep a tight lid on coverage and access to video and things, so what Morris is able to provide would be interesting to see.

Last year, Augusta National, the home of the tournament, released their own iPad app, The Official Masters Tournament (see original TNM post from last year here). That app was updated yesterday to add new features such as live video push notifications (I'd like to see what they mean by that), interactive 360 degree views of the holes, and more.

Amazon's Jeff Bezos invests unspecified amount in Business Insider as site seeks to raise $5 million

Henry Blodget, the founder of Business Insider, is crowing this morning about landing a big fish in his efforts to raise $5 million in capital for his website –'s Jeff Bezos is chipping in.

"Jeff's investment grew out of a dinner he and I had about a year ago. We talked about the business, and he was excited about it," writes Blodget in a publicly posted memo this morning. (He sees some parallels with Amazon). A few months later, he expressed an interest in investing. My reaction was basically 'Hell, yeah!'"

The Twitter link provided by Blodget was typical Business Insider: three or four clicks were necessary to read the story, and none proved direct, in any case.

According to a Bloomberg post on the investment, Business Insider had a net loss last year of $3 million on $10 million in sales, though the source was not identified.

Le Monde launches a new iPad app for its newspaper archives, extending the benefits of a digital subscription

Newspapers are, in my opinion, poor vehicles for forcing readers to pay for digital subscriptions. The problem, as I see it, is that newspaper publishers are not natural product launchers – something that is vital in a world where new media products appear daily. To make a reader feel that their digital subscription is worth paying for the product has to be seen as vital – such as a financial newspaper – or else that the benefits continue to increase over time, reinforcing the original decision to buy the digital subscription.

So, if launching new digital products can, in theory, drive digital subscriptions, what should a newspaper launch? Well, thank God for those archives – a treasure trove of material waiting for a new home.

Le Monde, the Paris-based newspaper launched December 1944, has released a new tablet app called Le Monde Archives. The app is now the seventh app for the iPad from the paper, and a sure sign that the paper wants to succeed in this new space. The app is free, though once installed you will need to log-in to access the contents.

Le Monde, early last month, launched a special section app following the death of Stéphane Hessel called Hessel, L'éternal indigné (see original TNM post here) – that app was a paid app, $6.99 US, and so did not extend the benefits of a digital subscription.

Le Monde is currently enticing readers to sign up by offering a digital subscription for only 1 euro a month for the first month, with the regular rate of 15 euros a month after that, renewable in three months increments. Being able to offer side benefits, such as access to special tablet or mobile apps makes good marketing sense.

The only paper in the U.S. that seems to be doing something similar to Le Monde's strategy with tablet editions is the Chicago Sun-Times (the Chicago Tribune, too, was building tablet magazines, but seems to have quickly reversed itself), while The Boston Globe has been busy publishing eBooks (see this interview with Jeff Moriarty, Vice President, Digital Products at the Globe). If Advance Publications really were serious about being digitally-focused, something they always say as they announce cutbacks in print schedules and staffing, they would be announcing new digital products, as well.

Morning Brief: An update on the new tablet magazine InFocus; New York updates its new tablet edition app to fix subscriber download issues; Facebook 'Home'

The managing editor at CustomMade Media Australia, Keith Barrett was kind enough to respond to my post yesterday on their new photography tablet magazine, Infocus Australasia (see original post here which also contains a walk-through video).

The new title uses the Oomph platform to create a native tablet magazine, with (as the TOC states) licensed content from Dennis Publishing. The question that was left open was what was the content being licensed and how much? Barrett was kind enough to fill in the details:

"Yes, we do use licensed content from Dennis, and that amounts to three pieces in each edition – the two ‘Tutorials’, and the ‘Project’," Barrett wrote. "These pieces of copy are generic (it doesn’t matter if you’re in the US, UK on Australia, the anatomy of a DSLR is the same; the same applies to shooting a silhouette or any of our Project pieces). So, we licensed some content that allow us to cover off the basics."

"What that does is allow us to put our editorial budget into genuine, unique, and localised content. This means, as you would know, getting freelancers involved, sourcing photography, and so on."

The new digital magazine is also free of charge – I called that a head scratcher because the magazine is so good.

"Giving this all away for free is a pretty unique approach for any business, but we identified the space on the domestic market for a high-quality, digital magazine in this space," Barrett wrote. "We elected to give it away with the aim of growing it rapidly and therefore need to be confident that we can deliver a product that will be sought out by a variety of people because of the content it contains. We’re confident that it will. Our second edition will have up to three new sections, offering even more for readers."

New York magazine, which launched a new tablet edition using the Mag+ platform (see original TNM post here), today issued an app update to fix some nagging subscriber download issues.

The app was developed by The Wonderfactory and is very much a change from the original app. The first attempt at a tablet edition produced a stand-alone app with a replica edition inside. The new app is to be found inside the Apple Newsstand and contains two parts: daily, updating news content from the magazine's websites, and a natively designed tablet edition of the magazine.

"I'm just getting with my new New York app but love the new interface and weblike content 'in' my magazine app. Way to go NY Mag! Pushing it!" writes one enthusiastic reader in the their App Store review.

Facebook rolled out its new "phone" in a much anticipated event yesterday, though what was announced was not so much a phone as a home screen replacement solution. It will be interesting to see whether "Home", to be rolled out beginning April 12, will catch on with loyal Facebook users.

I am not one of "Home's" target users as I avoid Facebook at all costs. But there are millions of Facebook users and because their perspective will be very different from my own I'll avoid any temptation to comment on the new product.

But I will say that it is good to see a company looking at the cell phone is a new way, even if it is self-promoting (oops, I commented on it). The platform has remained static since the introduction of the iPhone more than five years ago and it is about time someone shook things up a bit (a sentiment T-Mobile seems to agree with, as well).

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Quark issues major update to its app 'Quark DesignPad'

Quark today issued an update to its iPad design app, Quark DesignPad. The app, originally released in November, allows users to do grid-based design, then share their work via Twitter, email, or to import it into QuarkXPress for further refinement.

The app update is pretty extensive, with a long list of new features and app improvements:

What's New in Version 1.5.0
  • PDF output
  • Dropbox support
  • Air Print support
  • Shadow colors
  • New wave shapes for boxes opens up thousands of possibilities
  • Blank document button
  • Undo/Redo
  • Ability to remove watermarks
  • Nudge controls for precise placement
  • Slider stabilization technology
  • Dynamic grids that let you change grid parameters on live documents (fluid layouts)
  • Ability to remove all unwanted boxes
  • Ability to move boxes off the grid and reset them
  • Improved performance
  • Improved image placement
  • Better text controls including stroked text
  • Various bug fixes
Although the app is free, many users have complained about the app's few export features and its limitations. Today's update adds a 'Pro Feature Pack' in-app purchase option at $9.99 which unlocks many of the new features – nice if you want to spend the $$, but it won't help free users, of course.

And now its Cleveland's turn: Advance Publications says home delivery of The Plain Dealer to go to three days

Advance Publications, which last year cut the print run of the New Orleans Times-Picayune and their Alabama papers down to three days, will be doing much the same now in Cleveland at The Plain Dealer, the newspaper announced this afternoon.

"A new digitally focused media company, the Northeast Ohio Media Group, will launch this summer to help meet the rapidly changing needs of local readers and advertisers," the paper said. As it did elsewhere, Advance will launch a new company, Northeast Ohio Media Group, which will be able to pick its reduced staff, which the demise of the old company will mean employees will have to scramble. Andrea Hogben, currently Senior Vice President of Sales & Marketing at The Plain Dealer, will be president of the new entity.

Advance will also set up a production company, The Plain Dealer Publishing Company, which will continue to publish the newspaper seven days a week, though home delivery will be reduced to three days.

"These actions are aimed at driving innovation, capitalizing on the tremendous strengths of our existing organizations, preserving high-quality journalism and marketing solutions, and providing greater efficiency and flexibility in serving Northeast Ohio through print and digital applications," said Terry Egger, currently The Plain Dealer's publisher, who will become chairman of The Plain Dealer Publishing Company.

As has been typical of Advance's announcements, while the words "innovation" and "digitally-focused" are included in their announcement, no actual digital initiatives were announced, and the focus of the announcement remained firmly tied to layoffs and reductions in service.

"We are committed to delivering quality journalism and building a sustainable business in an increasingly digital era. We will continue to evolve in ways that best serve our community and meet the needs of our readers and business partners," Hogben said in the announcement.

Infocus Australasia: New photography tablet-only magazine from CustomMade Media Australia uses content licensed from print publisher

The second of two tablet-only magazines on photography, both from Australia, and both using the Oomph platform, comes from a custom publisher using content from a traditional print magazine publisher.

Infocus Australasia is a beautiful native tablet magazine that makes sure each tab page contains some sort of animation, embedded links or multimedia content – even the ads, which are all interactive. Much like the apps that come from the Mag+ platform, the apps that use Oomph are remarkably impressive. Maybe they are not all that way – after all, much of this depends on the publisher and their designers – but I'm impressed, nonetheless.

This new tablet-only magazine contains content that is published under license from Dennis Publishing Limited. by the custom publishing company CustomMade Media Australia. At first, being unfamiliar with the company, I assumed that this would be another of those replica editions that ended up appearing under the app maker's name. But upon opening the app, and seeing that it was powered by Oomph, I knew I was in for a treat.

Both the Newsstand app and its contents are free, which has me scratching my head a little. But readers will eat it up.

"Hello and welcome to the very first issue of InFocus, Australia's newest photography magazine," writes editor Ben Hosking in the introductory column.

"Coming direct to your iPad each and every month, InFocus offers you a photography magazine experience like never before, with dynamic and interactive exclusive content you always wished had been possible with traditional printed magazines."

It would be interesting to know how much content contained here is original, and how much made have appeared elsewhere – it's possible I'm misunderstanding how this tablet-only magazine was put together (should the folks at CustomMade Media read this and feel the urge to write a whitepaper on the project I'd love to post it here).**

The premiere issue inside the app weighs in at 327 MB is a pretty fast download. It is designed to be read in portrait, though as you can see in the video below, the video content embedded into the ads can be viewed in landscape.

Whether every editorial page needs the animated headlines will be a matter of choice. Cutting back here, especially if the magazine uses more video, would save a few Mb of file space. But I doubt readers will complain as the app is not over the top, and it is definitely very well designed.

** Keith Barrett, managing editor at CustomMade Media Australia, did respond to this post and provided some good information about what licensed content the magazine is using:

"Yes, we do use licensed content from Dennis, and that amounts to three pieces in each edition – the two ‘Tutorials’, and the ‘Project’. These pieces of copy are generic (it doesn’t matter if you’re in the US, UK on Australia, the anatomy of a DSLR is the same; the same applies to shooting a silhouette or any of our Project pieces). So, we licensed some content that allow us to cover off the basics."

The Weather Channel's innovative mobile advertising; app uses its most valuable real estate for an advertising

It is no secret that I am no fan of paid content strategies that try and minimize the reliance on advertising. For me revenue is revenue and throwing away on revenue channel to rely solely on another seems like a foolish strategy. It's a bit like the guy who puts the pea under the cups and begins moving them around, only this time he openly puts a pea in all three cups then asks you which cup has the pea... and you hesitate to decide which cup to pick.

For many newspapers (and magazines, too) who have launched mobile apps, the general way advertising is handled is to include a banner ad, often from an ad network. It is a lazy way to think about how to monetize one's mobile apps.

The Weather Channel is trying to come up with new ad solutions and one that is being employed today goes a long way in explaining why it recently decided to stop using animated wallpapers in its apps. Those gorgeous looking backgrounds may be missed, but it is obvious TWC thought it was real estate too valuable to simply give away to the designers.

The backgrounds of the page which shows the current temperature is usually the first page the app user sees. Today an ad from The Home Depot is used as the "wallpaper" behind the temperature. The background stays, even when moving from city to city (as you can see at left), but is gone once the user moves on to the 48 hour forecast or ten-day forecast. (The TWC's mobile media kit can be found here.)

This is smart stuff, and should give inventive ad directors something to chew on. What is your most valuable real estate in your app, and can you use it in an nonintrusive way for advertising. If not, then the creation of this kind of page might be the next option.

(By the way, the iPad app for TWC still is using attractive wallpapers, using a more traditional banner ad approach for the advertising.)

Australian team creates unique photography magazine app that offers 'issues' and photo technique digital publications within the app's library offerings

The basic magazine app is, essentially, its own digital newsstand. Assuming a publisher does not issue a single editions app, such as the original TIME Magazine app, or the purposely designed single edition apps for ΜΟΥΣΑ (Mousa), most magazine apps are their own newsstands.

Some publishers have realized this and gone in a slightly different direction, using their newly created digital newsstands as their own store to offer publications other than just a main title.

Photique is a unique photography app, less a digital magazine, than a way of delivering photography publications.

The app is the creation of Nick Rains, Peter Eastway and Tony Redhead. Rains and Eastway are photographers and authors, while Redhead is a 360° panographer and iOS app developer. Together they have created Photique as a stand-alone app under the developer account name of Photique Publishing Pty Ltd.

"My business partners and I have been publishing hard copy magazines for the photography market here in Australia for the past dozen years or so," Rains informed me via email. "Newsstand sales diminished like everyone else, so we looked to digital delivery."

"We wanted to move away from the old subscription model where you get a fixed number of issues per year containing a fixed number of 'articles; whether you were interested in them all or not. We also wanted to add some depth and interactivity because the iPad offers such riches for the photography enthusiast - it's a marriage made in heaven in so many ways," Rains said.

Nick Rains
"Anyway, we created Photique, which is more of a portal to content than a newsstand style 'magazine' per se. The idea is to offer a wide range of content in a wide range of styles and at a wide range of price points, including free."

While it is true that the app does offer some free content, the true purpose of the app is to offer the instructional publications found inside the library. There are 15 editions on photo illustration, four on layers, individual editions on lighting, photo basics, photographing stars, etc. The issue on inkjet printing probably would be best for me if my wide format Epson hadn't started acting up. That one is priced at $4.99 inside the U.S. store.

The Oomph platform offers a nice issue preview mechanism. In many cases this is not taken advantage of, but in others the publisher has used the preview feature.

"I think we are heading in a new direction in some ways, certainly we are the only ones doing what we are doing on the Oomph platform - everyone else still thinks 'magazine', 'issues', 'subscription's etc. We are trying to be more versatile and more interesting," Rains said.

Morning Brief: Qualcomm strikes deal with MLB Advanced Media to look at WiFi issues at ballparks; French Telcom chief worries about effect of economy on cellphone sales; T-Mobile, though, sees progress in customer acquisitions

Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. has struck a deal to begin working with MLB Advanced Media (MLBAM), the interactive media and Internet company of Major League Baseball, to "survey, plan and optimize mobile network connectivity for fans at supported MLB ballparks" the two entities announced this morning. As part of the deal, Qualcomm has been named the official technology partner of MLBAM.

Qualcomm's role will be to make an assessment of the connectivity issues and quality within MLB ballparks, looking at WiFi and 3G/4G availability, testing connectivity.

"Mobile data traffic is exploding, particularly in high-traffic areas such as Major League Baseball ballparks," said Anand Chandrasekher, senior vice president and chief marketing officer at Qualcomm. "Qualcomm has been preparing for an astounding 1000x increase in data demand, and we are leading the charge with MLBAM to provide passionate baseball fans with access to digital content, resulting in unparalleled in-ballpark experiences."

Austerity and a poor economy seem to effecting consumer behavior in France, according to Stephane Richard, chief executive at France Telecom SA. In a Businessweek article written by Scott Moritz and Marie Mawad, Richard says that French cellphone buyers na users are becoming more frugal, threatening the sales of phones such as Apple's iPhone.

"There are fewer early adopters, and probably with the next release of the iPhone this will be evident," Richard said. "Selling a phone for $600 is getting more and more difficult."

"Customers are more focused on price"” Richard told Businessweek. "Except for a few hundred thousand people who will buy the latest iPhone -- except for that category of people -- the majority of the market will be difficult."

Richard also said that French Telecom will soon be changing its name to Orange, the name of the familiar company it acquired in 2000.

Meanwhile, in the U.S., T-Mobile may be on the verge of a turnaround. The carrier that finds itself far behind its competitors reported yesterday that it had grown its user base by 579,000 customers.

These results display positive momentum and the first positive branded growth in four years," said T-Mobile CEO John Legere said in the company's earnings announcement. "We have made material progress in stabilizing our branded business in Q1, which provides a solid foundation to build on with the new Un-carrier customer offers we launched last week across America."

T-Mobile has garnered attention by announcing that it would be changing the way it charges for cellphones and service, allowing customers to buy unsubsidized phones, and to eliminate the two-year contract.

"It was a Steve Jobs moment: when somebody got so fed up with the shoddy way some business is being run (say, phone design or selling music) that he reinvented it, disruptively," NYT columnist David Pogue wrote of the move yesterday.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Google announces major web development shift with the introduction Blink. a new rendering engine; Mozilla & Samsung to collaborate on new web browser engine

Google this afternoon announced that it was creating a new rendering engine that will split off from WebKit and possibly have an impact in the direction web development, and browser development progresses.

"This was not an easy decision. We know that the introduction of a new rendering engine can have significant implications for the web. Nevertheless, we believe that having multiple rendering engines—similar to having multiple browsers—will spur innovation and over time improve the health of the entire open web ecosystem," wrote Adam Barth, Google software engineer on The Chromium Blog.

Google says that in the short term there will be no major changes for web developers, but the introduction of a new rendering engine, one that diverges from WebKit, could potentially mean that either Apple and other companies will have to move in the same direction, or that Google loses its bet and, hence, loses market share.

As Barth writes "(o)ver the long term a healthier codebase leads to more stability and fewer bugs." Google lists Blink's mission as "To improve the open web through technical innovation and good citizenship." We'll see, though there is no question this will shake things up a bit (and hopefully lead to more innovation).

Here are takes on this from some of the tech sites: CNET, ArsTechnica, The Next Web, and TechCrunch.

Meanwhile, in another corner of the universe...

Mozilla announced today that it was working with Samsung on "an advanced technology Web browser engine called Servo," Brendan Eich, CTO, Mozilla wrote today.
We are now pleased to announce with Samsung that together we are bringing both the Rust programming language and Servo, the experimental web browser engine, to Android and ARM. This is an exciting step in the evolution of both projects that will allow us to start deeper research with Servo on mobile. Samsung has already contributed an ARM backend to Rust and the build infrastructure necessary to cross-compile to Android, along with many other improvements. You can try this now by downloading the code from Github, but it’s just the beginning.

Australian Trade Commission releases separate iPhone and iPad apps for 'Australia Unlimited' digital magazine

The Australian Trade Commission recently released twin iOS apps, as well as a website, for Australia Unlimited. The new digital products are, of course, meant to encourage travel and business in Australia.

The new apps Austalia Unlimited for iPhone and Australia Unlimited for iPad are native in design and feature attractive photography within simple layouts designed for easy reading on the owner's device.

Our iPhone and iPad apps, and the website, all showcase the ideas and achievements of our world-class scientists, exporters, designers, educators and entrepreneurs. Australia Unlimited is about Australia's greatest asset - not our beaches or our mines - our people.
The iPad app proved a bit glitchy for me as at first the app reacted as if on a sugar rush and needed to be shut down. I could not duplicate the behavior, but my guess is that the app was probably tested on the newest version of the iPad, while older models, with less memory, may have trouble properly handling the app.

The navigation on my own iPad was extremely sticky, as seen in the screenshot below-right where the screen sticks between stories before eventually proceeding to the next story. I did not see the same behavior on my iPhone 5 with the iPhone app.

The apps and their content are free of charge, as you'd expect, and offers a free subscription. Actually forces a free subscription on you as pressing "cancel" will not stop the app from asking you again to subscribe. An update of the iPad app is probably a good idea to rid the app of bugs.

April 3, 2010: Some of the first media iPad media apps that began the conversation about the tablet platform

Today is the third anniversary of the launch of the iPad and a good time to reflect on some of the early apps to appear from media companies.

When Apple launched the iPhone in 2007, it might be hard to remember now, but the new cell phone did not accept third party apps – there was no App Store, and certainly no Newsstand. That would come with iOS 2, introduced in July of 2008.

But when buyers got their hands on the original iPad on Saturday, April 3, 2010 there was already an iPad App Store ready for them. The store was launched on Friday and those waiting for the delivery of their first tablets could take a look, and even download, apps available that day.

Among the magazines already in the App Store ahead of the actual launch of the iPad in the U.S. (the iPad became available in Europe and Australia at the end of May), were Condé Nast's GQ and Bonnier's Popular Science.

For magazine publishers at the time, the big question was 1) whether to launch an app or not, and 2) whether to launch an app as a native iOS coded app, or to use a digital publishing solution.

Bonnier had been thinking about this for a while and developed their own solution, Mag+, which soon was spun out as a separate company. For some of the other major publishers the question was whether to use Adobe's solutions or build their apps like a game, using raw Xcode programming. The issue came to a head one year later when Condé Nast decided to go with the Adobe DPS.

If it was important for Condé Nast and Bonnier to have something to offer new iPad owners, The New York Times, too, knew they needed an app ready. The NYT had been included in Steve Jobs's iPad introduction event, so everyone knew the paper would have something to download. That iPad app was the first one I wrote about on TNM, and probably the only one ever labelled as a "review". (It was a bad idea to "review" apps and I've stopped doing it. I prefer to call posts on apps I don't like as "snark attacks" instead.)

That NYT was a disappointment to me, and it remains one today. But its appearance in the App Store was what was important at the time. If the iPad was to be a reading device, AND a news device, there needed to be something more there than just the browser (though many believe, and probably still do, that the browser is all that is necessary).

There were other early magazine apps that were important, such as the release of the first TIME Magazine app, and the very inventive one built for Mac|Life by Balthaser Studios, but these apps either contained major mistakes (TIME's decision to issue separate apps rather than one that offered subscriptions) or were withdrawn and replaced with dull replica editions (as in the case of Mac|Life).

Instead, I think the decision by Zinio to launch an app was more important long term. The Zinio app instantly brought hundreds of magazine titles to the iPad, which for Apple was a big sales plus.

The downside of the Zinio app launch is that it was one of the first ways a publisher could "be on the iPad" without having to launch their own native tablet edition. The Flash flipbook, which would not be allowed onto the iPad, got a reprieve in the form of the replica edition. Today the vast majority of newspapers and magazines available for iPad owners are, in fact, replicas.

(Although not a publishing app, I would be remiss in not mentioning the importance of Netflix's first app, as well.)

There might be some debate as to what the very first tablet-only magazine launched into the Apple App Store was, but for me the first one of importance was released by Timothy Paul Moore with his app Letter to Jane, launched about six weeks after the launch of the iPad. Moore is now the creative director at 29th Street Publishing and was recently interviewed by The Verge, but I'm proud to say TNM interviewed when his first app launched in May of 2010.

"I wanted to (bring the magazine to the iPad) ever since I heard about the thing, but wanted to see what the big magazines might do. Then I got a feel for it -- then got one in my hands and realized I'd really like my work to be on there," Moore said at the time. "I haven't really programmed anything since high school, so I kind of just sat down and got to work -- learned, went through some tutorials, went back and forth, and had some people help me."

After the first initial wave of media app releases there was a slight lull as developers got to work. Wired magazine, which many thought would available on launch day, got its app into the App Store in time for the launch of the iPad in Europe. Thus began the argument over file sizes as many of the early tablet editions proved to be enormous.

The appearance of Flipboard in July of 2010 began the rush of apps that aggregated content and repackaged them into native tablet designs. That trend also continues, though it should be said that Flipboard is the leader in the field still today.

In the area of eBook publishing for the iPad one need look no further than the work produced by Joe Zeff Design. But high quality eBooks, native apps, really lagged behind. The great app for Above & Beyond, for instance, appeared about a year after the launch of the iPad.

April 3, 2010: Mag+ shares four insights gained since the launch of the original iPad

Today is the third anniversary of the launch of the original iPad. As you can imagine, a lot has been learned about tablet publishing since that Saturday in 2010. Mag+, one of the leading digital publishing platform companies providing native tablet (and mobile) app solutions, has issued a release on the four insights they have learned. Here is an excerpt:

After three years and more than 1,000 touchscreen publication apps, Mag+ and its customers have learned how to unleash the power of this important medium. Contrary to the word of uninformed doomsayers, Mag+ believes with some imagination and intelligent investment, issue-based mobile publishing has a bright future as both traditional periodicals and new content brands take advantage of the mobile app-based environment to reinvent publishing. Clients are finding great new revenue streams, using creativity to win brand loyalty and sales, and the custom content world is taking off...

“There is remarkable opportunity for smart publishers and other brands to make money by rethinking what, when and how they serve their audiences,” says Mag+ Chief Creative Officer and co-founder Mike Haney. “By thinking creatively about the best content for all channels available to them, including mobile, publishers can be the drivers, the innovators of the next boom in content.”

Four Insights Gained

Publishing Reinvented – Thinking about tribes, right content and right time
Mag+ predicts smart brands will figure out new ways to deepen their audience relationships by moving beyond monthly issues to a community membership model, where content arrives in all forms on a variety of devices on a regular and ongoing basis. Membership could include a premium print publication, a dynamic HTML website for up-to-the-minute news, apps that have utility on the go and deliver more frequent issues, push alerts for breaking news, even events, webinars and other ways to connect directly with the brand.

The new 'New York Magazine' app

There is consumer revenue here – Smart publishers can monetize on a mobile publishing platform. Since its inception PopSci+ has grown to 100,000 digital subscribers across all tablets, made $1.56M net from iTunes through 1.6 million unique downloads, and sold 180,000 single copies.

Downloads and revenue numbers are on the rise within Mag+ client American Media, Inc., as well. For Men's Fitness, Sept 2011 - Jan 2012 vs. five months prior downloads are up 200 percent and revenue is up 193 percent, as that brand and others moved from a PDF-replica to custom designed Mag+ version of the magazine. SHAPE Magazine’s Sept 2011 - Jan 2012 vs. five months prior downloads are up 400 percent and revenue is up 218 percent.

Many publications are now able to charge more for their iPad subscriptions than for print. They are also seeing more subscription purchases than single-issue purchases and renewal rates are far higher than with print publications at much lower cost.

Creativity wins the day in both experience and advertising –  Companies that think creatively will be the first to take full advantage of the community membership model. Creative use of video, audio and imagery, such as moving magazine covers, content appropriate soundtracks and even games are the tools content companies now have at their disposal. The Next Web even used the Mag+ mobile publishing platform to create an issue-based app by curating the best of its popular blog content.

Advertisers are also finding new ways to engage audiences on touchscreen devices. Kashi cereal just created an ad camouflaged as a game, (or is it a game posing as an ad?), in SHAPE. While the advertising and publishing industries still have a long way to go in building a touchscreen ad paradigm, everyone agrees we will get there—there are simply too many eyeballs at stake not to make it work. In addition, the technology is the best platform advertisers have ever had to make users see their ads as a service and not a nuisance.

Custom media opportunities abound – While the overwhelming majority of content-heavy apps have been offshoots of traditional publications, Mag+ sees the custom content sector growing rapidly. Museums, comic books, performing arts venues and corporations are all evaluating the possibilities of app-based publishing. The Victoria and Albert Museum in London created an app that showcases exhibitions, so you can see great exhibits wherever you are in the world; Dixons Travel, Europe's leading airport electrical store, launched Dixons Travel app, showcasing a host of gadgets; and Symbolia created an app that is a unique blend of comic book and journalism.

“Touchscreen devices and apps are the future, and content has never been more in demand or as potentially profitable,” said Gregg Hano. “We have never been more excited about this business—for us, for brands and for consumers.”

Tablet and mobile app editions that are powered by Mag+ include the newly released New York Magazine app, The Next Web, and British Journal of Photography.

April 3, 2010: it's the 3 year anniversary of the launch of the iPad, and the launch of the tablet publishing platform

Today is the third anniversary of the official launch of the iPad and I see no reason why I should let the date go by without a look back. This site's existence, I must admit, is tied to the hip with the iPad. Although TNM was launched a few weeks before the Apple event where Steve Jobs unveiled the tablet, the genesis for this site goes back to the months before that event when rumors swirled of 'iSlates' and such.

TalkingNewMedia was launched mainly as a way for me, as a print and web publisher, to educate myself about the new digital platforms of mobile and tablets. TNM talked early on about tablets not because of enthusiasm for any soon-to-be-released device, but because since the launch of the iPhone it seemed obvious to me that any discussion of digital media would have to include discussions about the tablet platform.

After the late January event that introduced the iPad, pre-orders were taken for delivery on Saturday, April 3. I hesitated to order my own iPad at first, not only because of the cost of the new device, but because it seemed like a major commitment by me to this website and covering the topic. This site had just launched and, frankly, no one was reading any of my posts.

In fact, when the UPS truck finally pulled up to my door, and the iPad was delivered, I rushed to post "the obligatory unboxing photos" post. To this day, that post has been read by exactly 11 people. It is a good thing that I didn't look at my traffic numbers every day back then or I would have shuttered TNM right there and then. As it was, TNM was shuttered twice since that day because of moments of clarity and reason that I fleetingly have experienced.

"Apple’s most devoted fans congregated on Saturday morning at stores around the country to pick up their latest object of desire: the eagerly anticipated iPad," read the report in the NYT the day after the iPad was launched. By the end of that day, the iPad app store already had over 3,000 apps available.

And the reviews were coming in...

"The Apple iPad is basically a gigantic iPod Touch," David Pogue said in his NYT review, echoing a common theme found in early reviews. Pogue's piece opens with the wildly varied comments being written online about the new device.

“This device is laughably absurd,” goes a typical remark on a tech blog’s comments board. “How can they expect anyone to get serious computer work done without a mouse?”
Engadget tried to describe the person who would want an iPad: "This is also a person who can afford what amounts to a luxury item. "

TechCrunch: My official opinion is to wait. The device, as it stands, is so close to the original iPhone that you get a sense of Deja Vu when you open the box and are exposed to the empty canvas bare of apps. Out of the box it is, at best, a large iPod Touch.

Walt Mossberg, WSJ: Only time will tell if it’s a real challenger to the laptop and netbook.

The Telegraph's Claudine Beaumont:
But in several crucial areas, the iPad falls short of the functionality that would have made this more than just a large iPod touch. The lack of Flash support is a major issue; the iPad's big screen is designed to make the best of multimedia content and the full-screen browsing experience, but the sight of little blue squares dotted around web pages where embedded video should have been just makes you feel like you're being short-changed.
"I simply don’t see a good use for the machine and don’t want to spend $500 on something I’m not going to use."
– Jeff Jarvis, Buzzmachine
Most reviews, I think, intentionally held back praise for the device. It must be remembered that by April of 2010 Apple had reached a point where fans of the company's devices were a bit extreme in their enthusiasm.

Even before the iPad was introduced John Gruber of Daring Fireball wrote: If you’re thinking The Tablet is just a big iPhone, or just Apple’s take on the e-reader, or just a media player, or just anything, I say you’re thinking too small — the equivalent of thinking that the iPhone was going to be just a click wheel iPod that made phone calls. I think The Tablet is nothing short of Apple’s reconception of personal computing.

It was probably posts like that one that got my attention. So it was probably natural that early reviews of the iPad tried to find flaws in the device – and there were (and are) flaws in the device. The original iPad was awfully slow, it didn't, and still doesn't, offer enough storage for the price, it makes it hard to attach third party devices, etc.

But the one thing I noticed, immediately, was that the digital media community was being split by the introduction of the iPad. Advocates for the new medium, I thought, were cautious and reasoned, maybe because I was in their camp. While I found critics to be conservative, and seemingly trying to protect their turf. Over the months that followed many online reports would say things like "while many believe the iPad will be the savior of (fill in the blank) evidence so far reveals..." What inevitably followed would be a report that such-and-such magazine only had a few downloads, despite that fact that the iPad had been around less than a year.

This Engadget report was typical:
Uh oh. Since its debut, the iPad has been variously hailed as the final nail in the coffin of all physical media and the savior of the magazine and newspaper industries. A few magazines, such as Wired, had truly impressive digital launches, with over 100,000 downloads of its first issue in June. It doesn't seem, however, that the stellar start was in any way sustainable.
But much worse was what was coming out from the media industry itself. From the beginning there was a sharp divide among media people about the device, working with Apple, any digital platform other than the web, etc.

But today, three years later, I don't think any of that matters. The Apple Newsstand, along with Google Play and, are filled with publications. And while some still probably won't still admit it, the debate is over. The issue today isn't whether publishers should be developing media products for tablets, but how they should be developing them, how they should be pricing and marketing them.

I doubt some of those with vested interests in a world with only one viable digital media platform will ever come around – they continue to get gigs at industry events and are taken seriously by people who really ought to know better. But that's the way it's always going to be. (A great example of this was when PixelMags, a replica edition vendor, was featured on stage at a BlackBerry event. Surely if publishers were to use a replica solution they wouldn't be developing native apps, so why would BlackBerry do this?)

It's been three years now, I think we can move on from talking about whether tablets are a viable platform, to what we have learned in the past three years, and how we can begin to profit from the platform.

Elkhart newspaper launches a tablet edition into the Apple App Store for their special section on local businesses

Three years ago today, a Saturday, Apple delivered the first iPads to those who had pre-ordered them via UPS. As thousands of buyers waited patiently for the UPS truck to pull up to their driveways, Apple released into the new iPad App Store the first new apps.

The first media app looked at here at TNM was, not surprisingly, from The New York Times. My post said that the app looked like a temporary solution.

"There is no question that the Times app is gorgeous to look at -- but even TalkingNewMedia looks great on an iPad! The glossy scene displays rich colors; the text is sharp and easy to read; and the whites are white, the blacks black (news photographers are going to absolutely love the way their images look)," I wrote on that launch day.

Here we are three years later and the Times app has added more content but has not evolved in any serious way, and the NYT has yet to really commit to tablets (and mobile, for that matter) as a serious platform for new product launches. But that has not stopped other newspapers, and media companies, in general, from committing to the tablet platform.

A great example of that might be this new app from The Elkhart Truth, from the family owned media company Federated Media. The company has just released its first tablet edition as a stand-alone app into the Apple App Store, Business and Industry 2013.

The iPad app looks to me to have used the Adobe DPS to create the tablet edition of the print special section. But unlike magazines that use this (which can easily fit in the full page ads into the tablet app, then reformat the editorial), local newspapers have to deal with all those small, modular advertisements. What to do with these in a tablet edition? Dump them? Gather them together on single pages? or blow them up to full page?

The Elkhart Truth solves the ad problem very simply by including them in the articles as if this still were print. The black and white ads look a bit odd compared to the advertising seen in most tablet editions, but I think it works. I'd go further, I see no reason why local papers that are experimenting with tablet editions couldn't duplicate the approach here.

The app was created by the newspaper's creative services department, and while it might, at first, appear rather rudimentary, the app uses many of the common features seen in tablet editions: scrolling with stories, swiping to the next, pop-up captions on photos, and even video links in ads.

The section represented here is the kind of business round-up many local papers like to produce on an annual basis. The section not only serves as a way of promoting the city, but local businesses often make a habit of advertising in the section, much as they would in the Yellow Pages (at least, they used to). Because of this, the publisher has chosen to not charge for the app or its contents.

But these sections will have to evolve in order to survive. This first effort from the paper in Elkhart, Indiana is a great example of one way to do this - and apparently it won't be the last app we see from this publisher as the last page of the tablet edition says to "Look for these upcoming Digital Magazines: Home Projects, Healthy Living. Watch for details and publication dates."

Morning Brief: Twitter Cards for app installs and deep linking; SEC reveals new social media rules for company officers; trade press reports on new magazine launches, and gets it wrong again

Twitter is held a developer event at its headquarters in San Francisco and, interestingly, the event was closed to the press. But Twitter itself unveiled a little of what was discussed on its own developer site.

One of the topics discussed involved new Cards, Twitter's way of displaying embedded content within individual tweets.

"One of the most important features in the new Cards is the ability to allow users to download your app (if the user doesn't already have it installed), or deep-link into your own app (if the app is already installed on the user's mobile device)," the Twitter developer blog said late last night. "By adding these new footer tags to your markup, you'll be able to specify downloads for users who've not yet installed your app on their device. This will work across iPhone, iPad, and Android (Google Play)."

If the Twitter user has the app installed, Twitter will also allow for deep linking which will open the app, the blog post said.

Speaking of Twitter... the Securities and Exchange Commission yesterday revealed new disclosure rules for chief executives to use when on Facebook, Twitter and other social networks. In brief, it's OK to Tweet, as long as the company has already announced what their social media strategy is.

In other words, if a CEO says upfront "hey, every once in a while I will Tweet about our earnings and other company news" then the SEC is fine with this. But if a company chief executive wings it they may still get in trouble.

What will follow, most likely, is that many companies will begin to include disclosures to their reports stating who at their company may use Twitter or Facebook occasionally.

Here we go again: yesterday reported that there were 27 magazine launches in the first quarter of this year... and naturally some trade industry websites reported this as fact, as they do after every report.

Well, it's not true. How many were there? I don't know because there were so many.

What is reporting, of course, and the trade industry press are mindlessly repeating, is the number of new print magazines launched. In the new world of digital media this information really doesn't tell you anything.

(TNM has already reported on 42 new digital-only tablet magazines launched in 2013. We're not talking about new tablet editions, but brand new titles.)

No, we are not seeing a time period where less new titles are being launched. We are, instead, in the midst of the greatest period of new magazine launches... ever. How the media trade industry press can be so wrong, all the time, is a great mystery. Someone, anyone, buy these guys iPads!

Dark Beauty Magazine and Daylight Digital take opposite approaches to wooing new digital magazine readers

Two very different new tablet editions were released yesterday into the Apple Newsstand. While the two magazines not only take different approaches to the creation of their new tablet editions – one a simple PDF replica, the other a natively designed tablet magazine – the two magazines also take very different approaches to trying to attract readers.

Dark Beauty Magazine is a title that doesn't mind placing a high price on its cover. The title's website says that print editions cost $55 a piece. No wonder then that the just launched tablet edition would be so pricey: $12.99 per issue and $54.99 for a subscription.

I learned long ago, for a very good sales person, that asking for the order, and in particular, asking for the big order, is the only way to succeed wildly. So I am predisposed to applauding when a publisher asks for what they think is a fair price.

But the problem here is that the publisher has used a PDF solution through PressPad. The app contains no preview issue, or even a preview of an issue, so the reader better be very familiar with the magazine before ordering. The app description won't be much help, either, as there is only a single screenshot of the cover to be seen.

Daylight Digital takes a completely different approach. With this tablet magazine the potential reader opens up the app to a letter from publisher inviting them in.

"Daylight Digital is a new way to discover, enjoy, and share contemporary art. Start your free trial now." That last sentence contains a hyperlink to the subscription form where a reader will get a 7 day free trial for signing up. After the free trial the subscription will auto-renew at $2.99 per month. It's a good deal and allows the reader to test the digital magazine.

"Here's your invitation to join us, too. We'll publish a new edition every other week highlighting the work of today's leading contemporary artists – next up is Deutsche Borse Prize nominee Cristina de Middel," reads the introductory letter, which goes on with more details.

It's a very pleasant way to sell a digital magazine, in my opinion.

A very bizarre thing happened after viewing these two digital magazines: my iPad died. After looking at dozens for new apps – eBooks and digital magazines mostly – the iPad locked up and began failing to respond to taps and swipes. A complete restore was in order, and with all the apps I have on that tablet you can imagine the trouble a restore is.

It's hard to say if either of the two apps above were to blame, or if something else was going (probably), but I figured I'd better mention it.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Using digital newsstands as test kitchen (or incubator)

Every once in a while I get a call from a colleague, or even someone out of the blue, looking for a piece of advice – usually regarding launching their first tablet editions. One recently call, though, moved from the subject to the issue of new magazine launches. My publisher friend lamented the increasing costs associated with new magazine launches. Not surprisingly, I stirred to conversation to digital-only launches.

First some background: the publisher in question had just made up his mind that any app launches would be developed in-house. It was a big decision, the publisher told, me. But after looking at all the cost comparisons he finally came to the conclusion that once he had settled on a native digital publishing solution, from a company he was sure would be around five to ten years from now, he could feel more comfortable understanding the cost side of digital launches.

Interestingly, he also told me that he felt far better about publishing solutions with actual costs than from companies trying to offer free services in exchange for revenue share deals. His reasoning was that the new launches inevitably would be all about incremental dollars, and he didn't want to fall into that trap. His goal, he told me, was to build the business the way he used to, a decade or more ago, only this time with digital products not print ones.

The other point he made was that while at first he was taken aback by some of the costs he would have to deal with, it all seemed so minor when he built a P&L for the same product, but using print. He was, I was glad to hear, following the one piece of advice so many don't want to hear, yet can not succeed without: build that P&L – no matter how painful the experience is, it is essential to being a real publishing pro.

From this point we moved on to the real issue he was interested in: new product launches. The B2B publisher was very interested in launching some new titles in tablet-only format but into new markets. My suggestion was that if he wanted to do this go ahead, but I would recommend using his current titles to launch new products instead – to use the Apple Newsstand (as well as other digital newsstands) as a test kitchen.

"Today we're going to make an app!"
This is how this would work. Take a typical B2B magazine title, it is composed of news sections, columns, major articles and assorted other features generally driven by client news (that is, press releases). Each of these sections – especially the columns and client news – could be an area to experiment with a new digital launch. For instance, a columnist that covers a topic could essentially be the new editor, or at least main contributor, to a new title based on the more sharply focused topics the columnist covers (such as legislative affairs, how-to columns, etc.).

The new launch would be able to limit editorial costs because much of the content already exists and has been paid for.

As the publisher went through an exercise with one of this magazines he realized that at least a half-dozen new titles were hidden inside his existing print magazine. At that point we started to go through some numbers: what would the costs be to launch, say, two new tablet editions off this existing title? What additional money might be available for adding content to the existing inventory? Would there be any need for more hardware, software, another art director?

At first the publisher was a little scared of the added dollars he suggested might be thrown at the launches. But after a few minutes he came up with a number. "You know, this is pretty low, especially in comparison to what I'd be prepared to allocate to a new print magazine launch. Peanuts, really."

But that is the cost side of things, I said, we really need to talk about revenue.

The publisher assumed the new tablet magazine would be available free of charge inside the Apple Newsstand. It was a natural thing to assume for a B2B publisher because most apps launched from controlled circulation magazine have chosen to launch as free digital magazines. In fact, the idea of charging is what turned off the publisher to those vendors that wanted a revenue split.

But I pressed him on the idea of charging – nothing ridiculous, say $9.99 a year, with issues at $1.99.

Here are the arguments on both sides: by being free, a new title can build up its subscriber base and then be able to eventually sell advertising; by charging a few dollars will come in that will not only offset the production costs by maybe pay for more personnel. The argument I made was that any new B2B product, in the digital world, that could not find someone to pay for it probably wasn't worth producing in the first place.

Going paid is a hard hurdle to jump for those B2B publishers who have not gotten involved in information products or events such as seminars. But the Newsstand, or, is not a bad place to start.

To make a long story short, we concluded the conversation by agreeing that a program of new launches would have fairly set costs; that the financial risks were fairly minimal; and that the Newsstand could serve as a test kitchen for new magazine titles, with the upside being that the publisher's portfolio of titles would grow and so would the value of his company (you can see where this might lead). I'll be watching for some of those new tablet magazine launches as the year goes by.

Materials Research Society and Cambridge University Press announce the launch of an online-only review journal, MRS Energy & Sustainability, for early 2014

It may only be early April, but the Materials Research Society and Cambridge University Press have announced today that they will be launching a new online-only review journal focusing on energy and sustainability. The journal, MRS Energy & Sustainability: A Review Journal, will launch early next year.

The focus of the new digital journal will be materials research and development related to energy and sustainability applications.

"With this high-impact review journal, we have an opportunity to define the context of the field of sustainability and facilitate its scientific development, while including the broader context of economics, sociology, and policy. The Editors-in-Chief look forward to working with the Materials Research Society and Cambridge University Press to launch this groundbreaking title," said David S. Ginley who will be one of the digital journal's editors-in-chief.

Ginley, who is from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, will be joined by David Cahen from the Weizmann Institute of Science, and Sally M. Benson from Stanford University.

The Materials Research Society is headquartered in Warrendale, Penn. and is an international organization of over 16,000 materials researchers from academia, industry and government which promotes the advancement of interdisciplinary materials research. Cambridge University Press is the publishing business arm of the University of Cambridge (UK).

Financial Times property, Investors Chronicle, enters the Apple Newsstand with a replica edition through YUDU

The Financial Times Ltd today released a new Newsstand app for one of its trade magazines, but the launch in no way signals any change in direction for the financial news organization. The app launched is for Investors Chronicle, a replica edition of the print magazine produced by YUDU Ltd.

The app is actually the second from the magazine title, YUDU having released a replica for Investors Chronicle Investment Guides earlier this year.

The publisher of the business magazine is between a rock and a hard place: the FT has made it clear that it wants to stay as far away from Apple in-app purchasing policies as possible, if only on principle, and the publisher of this magazine needs to move into digital publishing. Left with few good choices Investors Chronicle picked one of the bad ones, at least for now.

The problem is that the whole issue of the FT inside or outside the Apple ecosystem is a silly argument. The FT could have succeeded in selling subscriptions with an app, with a web app, with a Newsstand app. The reason is that the one category where digital media success is all but assured is the financial publications were the reader buys the publication as part of their business information needs. If you make money through timely information ponying up for a subscription to the WSJ, FT or other publications is not only a no-brainer, it is essential.

I learned this lesson many years ago while a publisher at McGraw-Hill. My daily newspaper cost a fortune, around $1,500 a year when I joined up in the early nineties. Readers felt the information contained in the publication was essential for their business, and without it they were all but out of business. But the audience for that information was small. So to reach a larger audience with a product that could support more advertising we needed to launch something – and we did, the first magazine I ever launched and managed. That magazine was inserted into the newspaper one day a month to the small readership of the newspaper, and then the printed mailed about 10,000 more copies to readers on our lists.

I don't believe the FT is making a mistake depending on its web app for digital media sales. I think the FT is making a mistake not launching new products into the Apple Newsstand (as well as Google Play, and other platforms and digital newsstands). The FT could make these outlets their test kitchens, trying out new markets and formats. But I think ideology is more at play here than smart, pragmatic publishing. In other words, its bad business.

Morning Brief: Newly formed TeamRock picks up two rock music titles from Future plc; Prudential features the front pages of the NYT in its new web ad campaign

Future plc announced today that it had sold two of its rock music titles to formed TeamRock, the recently formed venture formed by John Myers, former CEO of The Radio Academy and head of GMG Radio and Billy Anderson, a former GMG radio executive. The two titles are Classic Rock and Metal Hammer. Both titles currently have replica edition apps inside the Apple Newsstand.

The two titles were sold for £10.2 million and included in the deal were the events The Golden Gods and The Classic Rock Roll of Honour.

The new venture was formed last summer and is based in Glasgow and London. When launched TeamRock said the mission of the company was to deliver"a range of services to “rock music” fans across the world via a number of multi-media platforms."

We are delighted to acquire these wonderful brands that will play a significant part in the development of our larger business. They come with a great team led by Chris Ingham and we look forward to investing further in their development,” said Billy Anderson, who has assumed the role of TeamRock Chief Executive.

Commenting on the sale Mark Wood, Future's ceo said "Classic Rock and Metal Hammer are highly successful and well-managed parts of Future, but they have not been centre stage in our current growth strategy. They are great brands with a great team and I am confident they will continue to flourish under new investment from Team Rock."

In January of last year Future sold off Guitar World, Revolver, and Guitar Aficionado to NewBay Media.

 photo Prudential-NYT-ad-sm_zpscc479147.gif
Prudential teamed up with The New York Times on any interesting ad campaign that features the front pages of the paper.

Readers are invited to fill in a form with their birth date which then pulls up the front page of the NYT from that date. The ad message is then "A lot can happen in the average life span, especially now that we're living longer."

The ad features links to LinkedIn and Twitter to help share the ad and its message.

Forbes magazine looks today at the impact of the Internet on the recruitment industry. The article is actually rather modest in length but is spread over several web pages. The equivalent in print would be magazine pages only two or three paragraphs in length. As a result of this practice one would have to take with a grain of salt any page view numbers coming from the publisher, right?

Monday, April 1, 2013

Tablet publishing updates: Focus Publishing launches new tablet magazine for photographer; Al Jazeera launches new tablet magazine targeting the Balkans

There were a number of new tablet-only magazines released inside the Apple Newsstand this weekend, both coming from media companies that appear to be enthusiastic about launching new digital publications that are native in design.

Focus Publishing, which in early March launched a new tablet-only magazine under its own name called Exposures, followed up on a promise it made to continue launching tablet editions. These new projects would be digital magazines for individual photographers, each showcasing their work in a format that can make photography shine.

Silver Mag was launched this weekend into the Apple Newsstand and focuses on the work of art photographer Mikhail Kudish. Single issues are priced at $4.99, while a bi-monthly subscription costs $2.99 and an annual subscription (6 issues) costs $19.99 (yes, it appears that the bi-monthly rate is the one to buy).

David Spivak, the president and publisher of Focus Publishing, told me last month that he had four such project in the works. This appears to be the first to make it into the Newsstand.

We're launching a new service, working with a third party app development software, and this new service is going to allow us to create fine art photography magazines for other photographers," Spivak told me last month. "The photographer gets to showcase their work in a way that also allows them to earn a different source of revenue, a different source of income. To do this before digital media was completely impossible,"

Initially Focus Publishing was producing a tablet edition using the MagazineCloner solution, but they moved to the Adobe DPS to get the results they desire.

The broadcaster Al Jazeera, which in January of this year acquired the American channel Current TV, has launched a new tablet magazine, Al Jazeera Balkans Magazine.

This is the fourth universal app that the company has launched into the Apple Newsstand. In August of last year the company launched a magazine app for the iPad called Al Jazeera English Magazine. A few months later Al Jazeera Network updated the magazine app to add in iPhone support. The English language tablet magazine has received near universal praise by readers inside the App Store.

"I think the inspiration for it really is one, we have a huge amount of content, which can marry very well into the magazine format, because we have an enormous amount of depth and analysis and features, and video content and infographics etc." Will Thorne, the then acting head of online told Rachel McAthy of last year.

"So there's a lot of good stuff that we can harness and use in a magazine format that was probably not getting the sort of airtime or airspace it deserved," Thorne said. "But also there's, I think, just a way things have gone with the iPad. It's such a good platform for digital magazines, it works so well in that format, it just seemed like an obvious thing to do, to dive into that market and see what we could produce."

Both the English magazine and the newly released tablet magazine for the Balkans are free of charge to download and access.