Friday, December 31, 2010

Top 5 reasons why iPad Magazines aren't working

It is with great interest that I read a story on titled After initial success, magazine purchases on Apple iPad decline - talking about how magazines on iPad haven't achieved the success that was predicted for them.

With the global magazine industry threatened by visions of the print versions of their magazines going the way of the dodo, the magazine community has spent significant dollars on creating amazing, rich media digital magazines on iPad.  One only has to open Wired's iPad app to see how much work has been put into the iPad version and Richard Branson's Project iPad app went even further with integration of video and amazing interactive advertising and yet it also seemingly has suffered from a lack of take up from the iPad user. 

Its has been said in the boardroom of many a magazine publisher that perhaps this investment has been made "too early", or has been a wasted chance to build the magazine's brand on a smartphone type device.


Could it be that the technophiles behind the creation of these apps have let the tech run away with the fundamental premise of how users want to consume magazine style content.

It didn't take much time with a range of these apps to write down 5 fundamental issues with the way these apps work that are kind of obvious to any magazine subscriber.

Issue 1

Downloading of content - unlike the magazine that you purchase at your local news stand or have home delivered, these apps require you to initially download a "shell" that is then used to allow you to download magazine issues. 

For many an iPad user the time it takes to download the hundreds of megabytes of data is a significant impediment to viewing the magazine. That together with the way people use the iPad - which is a kind of "information grazing" approach with one app being open, then closed to do something else, then back to the first app - means that often the user will not get a chance to download their first edition of the magazine for many hours and forces users to leave the device with the app open overnight. Not an ideal way to quickly consume magazine style content.

Issue 2

More is not more. To a fault the iPad magazine tries hard to include as much "eye candy" as possible to (in the mind of the developers) create a new compelling experience on device.  What this often does is simply takes away for the quality of the article or photograph that has been carefully crafted for the paper based magazine.  

Developers need to understand that old publishers saying "less is more" - as otherwise they risk overwhelming the user and making the app boring and a simple showcase of iPad graphic capabilities - to create return readers its the content that rules, not the iPad graphics.
Too many choices and too much eye candy take the reader away from the content 

Issue 3

Advertising. Where is the value? By moving the iPad magazine away from a traditional "Front to back reading" approach to a "go anywhere anytime" the iPad magazine has removed the ability of the publisher to charge a differentiated fee for advertising by its placement within the publication. Advertising and per download fees will both be required in the future to create a viable commercial structure for iPad (and other table) versions. App developers need to go back to basics to create a way of allowing publishers to monitise content in more traditional ways.

Issue 4

The good old double page spread. We have yet to see any examples of iPad magazines creating a concept as powerful as the double page spread.  Advertisers love creating special content and readers find the spread something that catches the eye and makes one "linger" on it.

Issue 5

Give aways and bundles. Where are the "free tote bags" or "free CDs" that have been a successful mechanism for driving news stand purchases? Consumers need constant reminding and encouragement to purchase these magazines again and again. Traditional marketing works.  App developers just need to implement a way of offering a similar structure for their users in the digital age.

Overall I think that magazine publishers and users are still very excited about the use of the iPad (and other tablets) as tools for delivering content.  These first few versions of the iPad magazine have been great pointers to what works and what doesn't work for the mass market of users out there who are thinking of spending their hard earned money on this new way of getting the content that they value in a way they want to consume it.


Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Christmas Greetings

We can't believe Christmas is almost here - so we wanted to send out a special THANK YOU to all our loyal customers, partners and suppliers wishing you a very very Happy Christmas.

We hope you (like we do) take the opportunity to donate to a Christmas Charity like the Smith Family in Australia - or one of the other fantastic charity organsiations worldwide who do for others what we find all the excuses in the world not to do.

Every day is special, so lets all try to make this Christmas Day as special as we can for people around the world.

The BigTinCan team

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Jessica Simpson Christmas App Now Available

Its Christmas time and the team at BigTinCan is pleased to bring you an exciting new app for the iPhone and BlackBerry - Jessica Simpson's Happy Christmas.

When Jessica Simpson released her new album Happy Christmas - and we found out that it is only available for people living in North America - we felt knew that people all around the world would love to be able to hear her music, and get access to special content from Jessica's TV Special that aired last weekend in the USA - and we believed that the power of the smartphone would be the idea answer to getting fans access to this exciting and unique content - just in time for Christmas.

To do this we partnered with Primary Wave Music based in New York and have delivered two exciting smartphone apps - for iPhone and BlackBerry - that are the only way to get access to this content outside of North America. You can see videos of the apps in action at our Youtube channel on the Jessica Simpson Christmas Playlist  - and you can read the press release here

To quote the guys at Primary Wave -  “We see this new app as the future distribution mechanism whereby millions of fans around the world in this innovative way,“ said legendary music company executive and Primary Wave Music talent manager Jerry Blair.

We hope you all like the app and we are looking forward to bringing this way of distributing music content around the world in 2011 - and special thanks to the team at Tolemy for the amazing design!

Happy Christmas from all the team at BigTinCan