Category Archives: digital publishing

Why iPad Adaptation is an Uphill Battle for Incumbent Publishers

A great post appeared on the O’Reilly Tools of Change for Publishing blog today by Andrew Savikas about the new Popular Science+ iPad application. He makes a great point and one that we have been advising a number of our clients to remember. When publishing on the iPad ensure that your content in dynamic and interactive. Do not just recreate your magazine or print edition on a smaller digital screen like a PDF viewer. This is a revolutionary new device so you are going to need to think out of the box; it’s not a black and white static Kindle or Sony E-Reader. Users expect interactivity and the ability to utilize many of the tricks and tools that we are used to on the (social) web today. Here is a link to his article:

Why iPad Adaptation is an Uphill Battle for Incumbent Publishers

Working hyperlinks are the very least we should expect from content like this on a device like the iPad, and they’re the bare minimum form of something notably absent in Popular Science+ — opportunity for engagement. No comment links, no way to see what the most popular content is, no way to email a picture or an article to someone else, no place to submit my own recommendations for better tools or to tweet about what I just read.

What are your favorite media apps on the iPad so far? Why are they so good? What do they do right? What distinguishes them from their print or web version? Let us know your thoughts.

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The iPad Frenzy

So it’s official, we had a chance to play with the iPad this morning and it is without a doubt a game changer. Whether more articles are read on this device or on mobile phones is yet to be seen, however the look and feel of a newspaper on its brilliant high resolution screen is something that is easy to fall in love with. Spreed will undoubtedly be releasing a very slick iPad news reader in the very near future so keep your eyes peeled and please give us any suggestions you may have on how to make the best news application possible. We have some great ideas, but want as much feedback and input as possible. So what are the important statistics?

  • In just one day the iPad sold 600k-700k (300k in store and the rest were pre-orders)
  • 1 Million apps downloaded
  • 22% of new apps being built are for the iPad
  • 2000 iPad apps are already available
  • Unilever, Toyota Motor, Korean Air and Fidelity all have booked ad space on the NYTimes iPad app
  • Advertisements on print publishers’ applications cost $75,000 to $300,000 for a few months with some exclusivity

This is a very exciting new platform and more than ever I urge digital strategists at publishing companies to think outside of the box and not recreate what they have done on the web. I usually do not do this, but here is an re-post from an Ad-Age article on which media companies are already developing apps for the iPad and what these apps look like. I love the ABC app. Here is a link to the original article.

ABC

The ABC Player for the iPad is starting off with free, ad-supported episodes from approximately 20 series, including “Lost,” “Grey’s Anatomy,” “Modern Family” and “Desperate Housewives.”

CBS
CBS is offering streaming video clips from a variety of shows as well as full episodes of “Survivor” and technology content from CNET.com. Full-length CBS programs are available for purchase via iTunes and viewing on iPad.

CBS Radio
CBS Interactive Music Group is launching a free iPad app for Radio.com that will feature live streams from more than 550 music stations and over three dozen news, talk and sports stations from CBS Radio’s network and streaming partners such as Yahoo Music. CBS will use Last.fm’s “scrobbling” technology to send music recommendations to users and share what songs friends are listening to.

Clear Channel
The radio company’s iheartradio app will launch a free iPad version of its existing iPhone app this weekend, but is expected to roll out a custom app later this year with better tailored opportunities for advertisers and local station activation.

Conde Nast
Wired’s iPad edition is under development and Vanity Fair, Glamour and The New Yorker are expected this year too, but Conde Nast is kicking off on the iPad with its GQ app, which the iTunes store says was “developed for both iPhone and iPad” but now includes optimization for the iPad. Each issue of the GQ app edition costs $2.99.

Discovery Communications
Discovery is bringing its “MythBusters” franchise to the iPad with a $4.99 app comprised of behind-the-scenes clips, outtakes from the show and three multi-level games in which users can compete against each other.

ESPN

ESPN is launching two free apps, “ESPN Pinball” and “ScoreCenter XL,” customized for the iPad. “Pinball” is an arcade-like gaming app featuring voiceover commentary from “SportsCenter” host Jay Harris, while “ScoreCenter” is an adaptation of the successful iPhone app featuring real-time score updates and play-by-play recaps.

Men’s Health
Rodale, the publisher of Men’s Health, is offering Men’s Health as an iPad edition for $4.99 an issue but is making 10-page previews free to consumers. Each issue will include all the editorial content of the print edition plus extras such as video. Procter & Gamble’s Gillette brand secured sponsorship of the April and May issues of the Men’s Health iPad edition by increasing its other ad spending with Men’s Health.

MTV Networks

There are “co-viewing” apps, meant for use while watching shows, under development, but MTV Networks is starting out on the iPad with offerings such as its $4.99 Beavis and Butthead app, which includes video clips and games, and the $2.99 app VH1 Classic Presents: Intellivision Games for iPad.

National Public Radio
NPR has introduced not just an app but a new website optimized for the iPad. The free app is meant to highlight news, arts, lifestyle and music content in a “magazine-style” presentation. Both the app and site load audio players built specifically for the iPad.

The New York Times
The New York Times’ “Editors’ Choice” app is offering a selection of news, opinion and features, available free to consumers and relying on advertiser support. The Chase Sapphire card is sponsoring the app at the start.

Popular Science

Popular Science is the first iPad app from Swedish publishing house Bonnier. The science magazine app was developed on the publisher’s Mag Plus platform, which will be used to get its titles on the iPad soon. The app will feature content from the magazine’s April issue and touts flow navigation “more like a panning camera than a flipping page.” Future issues will sync with the print publishing schedule and will be on sale within the app.

Time
The Time iPad app will include all the magazine’s weekly content plus additional slide shows and video, costing consumers $4.99 per issue. Initial advertisers include Fidelity, Korean Air, Liberty Mutual, Lexus, Toyota and Unilever. “We’re proud of Time on the iPad and of the special features that will be in it, such as extra pictures, videos and a news feed featuring the latest stories from Time.com,” managing editor Rick Stengel wrote in his editors’ letter for the April 12 issue. “We were a little handicapped in part because, unlike some other news organizations, we were not been working with an actual iPad. It is the beginning, not the end, of the process, and we hope to evolve and change every week.”

USA Today
USA Today’s app will include much of the editorial content from each morning’s paper and will update around the clock. It’s free to consumers for the next three months, courtesy of a sponsorship from Courtyard by Marriott, but will require a paid subscription after that. USA Today has not yet set the subscription price.

Walt Disney
Disney is offering two read-along “Toy Story” apps from Disney Publishing Worldwide, one free and the other available at $8.99 with a year-long subscription to disneydigitalbooks.com; iPad videos from Disney movies and Disney Channel TV shows from Disney.com; three-page previews of more than 500 Marvel comic books with the option to purchase each selection in total; and more.

The Wall Street Journal
The Wall Street Journal for iPad is a free download with some free content, but complete access will require a subscription that runs $3.99 per week. The subscription will include news throughout the day, top picks from editors and access to the last seven days’ worth of print content. Initial advertisers include Buick, Capital One, Coca-Cola, iShares, FedEx and Oracle, with full-screen ad units that appear between article and section pages.

The Weather Channel
One of the top apps for iPhone and Blackberry, the Weather Channel comes to the iPad with expanded custom weather forecasts, full-length videos of Weather Channel programming, interactive maps, weather alerts and other features. The free app is sponsored by Toyota.

YouTube
It’s not just traditional media companies, of course, gunning for the iPad’s early adopters: YouTube, for example, has introduced afree iPad app tailored for the new device.

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Is The Mobile Web More Popular Than Reading?

The European Interactive Advertising Association (EIAA) recently released a study on European usage of the mobile web. According the EIAA a whopping 71 million European’s use the mobile web on a weekly basis. They also found that on average European surf the web for an average of 6.4 hours a week.

Where the study falls apart in our eyes is how they compare these stats to the average number of hours a typical European spends reading traditional news/magazines a week (4.1 hours). The study concludes that people are reading news and magazines more on the mobile web than traditionally. This seems like a flawed assumption considering that most of these reported users are in a younger demographic and are probably surfing Facebook and other geographically relevant social networks, not reading a news website.

I have no doubt that in the near future we will see more people reading the news through mobile applications and websites than traditional forms of media. However, it is important that we stay grounded in the statistics and not act to hastily.

An interesting next study for the EIAA would be to segment their data in order to find out how much of the 6.4 hours a week Europeans are spending on actual news and magazine mobile sites.

The mobile web is clearly on the rise and here at Spreed we are constantly asked whether the right mobile strategy for a publishing company is to launch a mobile website or whether it’s best to just launch an application. This is worthy of a blog post in itself, however  simply put we do not think that the two are mutually exclusive. In this increasingly mobile world that we live in, it is necessary to work on both strategies as they each address specific goals and challenges.

The mobile web is great for sharing and receiving links on the go. Mobile applications on the other hand serve the purpose of content discovery. More information to come in a future blog post 🙂

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Apple and Newspapers Can Co-Exist

This is a guest post from Kirk LaPointe, the Managing Editor of the Vancouver Sun, blogger at themediamanager.com and adjunct professor at the UBC School of Journalism.

The routinely strong Seeking Alpha site features a somewhat conciliatory post from media corporate financial advisor on the impending coexistence of the Apple iPad and the newspaper industry.

Dan Ramsden has some tough words for Google. He sees its recent encouragement of the newspaper industry to experiment as self-serving — the more papers try to do things online, the more Google’s search engine technology benefits.

But he makes an interesting choice in where to place the technological bet. While recent media coverage has suggested Google’s open-source design of its Android smartphone offers the greatest opportunity for old media to succeed, Ramsden begs to differ.

He is firmly in the Apple camp. It’s the technology of choice by consumers, it’s the technology company that has figured out (through iTunes and the iPhone) how to exact a premium for content, so it’s the technology the newspaper business should focus on serving.

“Newspaper and magazine owners, who are struggling to redefine their business models for a new online and mobile environment, would probably be well served to align themselves with the platform that can offer a revenue model, and a mobile marketplace, and leave the experimentation and iteration stuff to young entrepreneurs and startups that do not yet have a franchise to protect,” he writes.

He suggests: “Style, design, quality control, are all characteristics that will do much more to facilitate the popularity of paid content than one more colorful website that may or may not show up at the top of Google’s search results.”

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Flurry Smartphone Industry Pulse, February 2009: Traditional Media Dominating the News Category

Flurry, a mobile analytics company known for their strong industry statistics released their February report today. The report is interesting as it relates to the consistent surge of iPhone developers and their unique demographics. What is interesting to our readers is the specific attention it gave to the news category. As expected traditional media sources are dominating the news category. This is mostly due to the fact that it is not easy to simply start publishing the news and creating content. What it does point out though is that the iPhone and other smartphones are very useful channels to distribute content very inexpensively and target a very attractive demographic.

Possibly, more interesting is the rise of online news sources on the iPhone. Flurry believes that with the release of the iPad we are going to see an even strong supply and demand for blogs and other online media sources. It is therefore essential that if your newspaper does not have an app now, to act fast. If you wait too long, the online media sources will own the real estate on users phones and other mobile devices.  More below and in the report.

Like gaming, the creation of compelling content in News is a specialized and costly operation. To source and report quality news, companies often have to span various media such as TV broadcast, radio and print, which further increases cost. It’s therefore no surprise that Traditional Media dominates the News category, controlling nearly two thirds. For traditional media (e.g., New York Times, ABC News, NPR, etc.), the iPhone represents a large channel through which to distribute their existing content. The small incremental cost of expanding the distribution of Traditional Media’s core content, and the attractiveness of reaching an educated, affluent and tech-savvy audience, makes iPhone the perfect platform through which to serve news. Looking forward, the iPad creates an even greater opportunity to increase reach because its larger screen size works better works for newspaper and magazine layouts, as well as TV broadcast.

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Mobile Newspaper Apps Deliver Young Readers

“A new survey by the Pew Research Center released Monday found more than a quarter of all American adults read news on their mobile.” –Pew research

This headline from the March 3rd edition of MobileMarketing Daily caught our attention.  The headline is taken from the recently release Understanding The Participatory Newspaper Consumer which is a deep analysis of the publishing ecosystem.  From our perspective as a mobile publishing company the most encouraging news for publishers is the degree to which younger readers – the readers newspaper publisher need to bring into their franchise – are using their mobile devices to access news and information where and when they want.   This table taken from the study confirms  that younger adults are much more likely to access news and information on their mobile than older adults – 43% adults under 50 expect to find  at least some of news and information that they need on their mobiles.



We are not surprised by the importance of mobile as a trusted source of news and information for younger adults.  The iPhone apps we have built for our publishing clients continue to drive double digit growth in new subscribers and page views.  As important, app publishers are experiencing month over month growth in average number of articles read.  This tells us that  iPhone app subscribers  have quickly adapted newspapers to fit their reading habits – they no longer need to be in front of the paper or online editions to access the news they want when they want it  We expect to continued growth in on demand newspaper as more and more adults move to app enabled phones.

We remind our publishing clients that Apple app editions deliver a young readership – almost half of whom are under the age of 34 according to AdMob research.– and  that these apps are the pipeline to their future franchise.

When most of us think of Apple app editions, we usually think of the iPhone as the most likely delivery device.    But as Flurry research shows, the iTouch now delivers 41% of all Apple app user  sessions

AdMob data above  clearly demonstrates that the iTouch user profile is very different from the iPhone user profile – three quarters of iTouch users are below the age of 18 vv 15% of iPhone users.  We believe that the iTouch cohort is of vital importance to publishers for two reasons.

1)      Because they can and do access the App Store just as easily as iPhone users, they are a captive audience for news and information relevant to them

2)      They are now locked in to satisfying their information and entertainment needs with proprietary Apple hardware and software.  As they mature, the migration to the iPhone and iPad will be a natural and seamless progression for them.

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Pew Research Center Study on the Participatory News Consumer

Yesterday, The Pew Research Center released a new report on the state of news consumers, specifically focusing on the behaviors and habits of digital consumers. What was interesting about this report was the focus that it put on mobile. Click here to be taken to the mobile section of the report. In summary the report finds the follow:

Some 80% of American adults have cell phones today, and 37% of them go online from their phones. The impact of this new mobile technology on news gathering is unmistakable. One quarter (26%) of all Americans say they get some form of news via cell phone today — that amounts to 33% of cell phone owners. These wireless news consumers get the following types of news on their phones:

Wireless news consumers have fitted this “on-the-go” access to news into their already voracious news-gathering habits. They use multiple news media platforms on a typical day, forage widely on news topics and browse the web for a host of subjects.

Among this subgroup of internet-using mobile phone users, Pew found that the vast majority get some kind of news online:

  • 72% check weather reports on their cell
  • 68% get news and current events information on their cell
  • 49% have downloaded an application that allows them to access news, weather, sports, or other information on their cell
  • 44% check sports scores and related information on their cell
  • 35% check traffic information on their cell
  • 32% get financial information or updates
  • 31% get news alerts sent by text or email to their phones
  • 88% say yes to at least one of the above

These are very interesting statistics and the report shows that mobile users and more engaged with their news brands and appreciate news more when it is highly interactive.

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