A third read tablet magazines ‘cover to cover’

Esquire: Hearst's tablet edition
Esquire: Hearst’s tablet edition
Almost one third of consumers read tablet editions of magazines “cover to cover” and few jump around apps using interactive tools, according to research from Hearst Magazines UK released to Media Week today.Hearst used an in-app survey in digital editions of Harper’s Bazaar, Men’s Health, Red, Elle, Cosmopolitan and Esquire to quiz nearly 500 readers on their reading preferences for digital editions.Of the people questioned, 31.4 per cent said they read a digital issue “cover to cover” in a linear manner.In contrast, only 7.3 percent said they scrolled through small thumbnails of the pages to navigate the app, while 6.4 per cent use navigation features on the front cover or contents section to jump to certain articles.On average, readers claimed to pick up a digital copy and read it four times per issue and read an average of 67.8 per cent of their copy.

In comparison, print readers claimed to read 76.2 per cent of a print copy of a magazine according to the Quality of Reading survey from the Professional Publishers’ Association (then the Periodical Publishers Association) in 2000.

Consumers claimed to spend 103 minutes reading the digital edition, nearly double the amount of time readers claimed to spend on a print issue in the separate PPA research 13 years ago.

When asked what features would enhance advertising, the top two choices were a clickable link to find more about a product (chosen by 30.7 per cent as a feature they would definitely like in advertising) and photo galleries (27 per cent).

Max Raven, the group revenue director of Hearst Magazines UK, said: “Developing robust digital edition metrics and ensuring our advertisers and clients have the utmost confidence in our data is top priority.”

The research also found that 69.1 per cent keep a digital magazine for future reference, while only 11.3 per cent delete it.

Nearly half (45.7 per cent) claimed they intended to buy a mixture of print and digital issues in future.

The digital editions used were enhanced editions, re-designed for devices like iPad and iPhones, rather than a digital version of the print magazine created from PDF files.

Respondents surveyed had a medium age of 37. The survey suggested uptake of digital editions is still on the rise, as 23 per cent of those surveyed were first-time buyers of the edition. The largest proportion (48 per cent) was subscribers.

Hearst claims to be the largest digital publishing in the UK – added together, its digital editions have a larger circulation than any other publisher, according to the latest Audit Bureau of Circulations figures.

In September Hearst launched an Esquire Weekly app edition, a digital weekly edition of the monthly men’s magazine, priced at 99p.

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Digital Magazine Advertising to Hit 3.8 Billion by 2017

Magazine companies have been one of the most successful segments of publishing to take advantage of the digital space. Very early on they have been able to leverage their strong brands across a wide spectrum, including paywalls, dedicated apps, and inclusion into Zinio. Advertisers are increasingly spending more money on digital properties, and by 2017 analysts expect almost 3.8 billion dollars will be spent. The big news coming out of the annual Price Waterhouse and Cooper report on digital advertising, has overall spending to dramatically increase to $3.8 billion in 2017, when it will represent a quarter of overall advertising, from $2.4 billion in 2012. Customers who actually purchase the digital content will also increase from $275 million in 2012 to $1.4 billion in 2017. North America and Britain are poised to generate 20% of their overall revenue from digital properties. This mainly stems from their investment in a proper dedicated infrastructure, while the rest of Europe will only see a modest 10% increase by 2017. Westerners have had a proven track record of expressing a willingness to pay for digital content, whether it be accessing the HTML5 edition or taking out a subscription on the Apple Newsstand. The shift to digital advertising is almost proportionate to the rate the decline of the print industry. In 2008, a record 9.8 billion was spent and then fell to $7.9 billion in 2012, and it is expected to diminish further to $6.4 billion in 2017. Statistically younger people tend to embrace digital media over the printed editions, due to the versatility of being connected to your smartphone or tablet. This demographic represents the core buyers of tomorrow and they in turn influence their own children within twenty years. Companies such as Glossi are spearheading the next generation of magazines, who are adopting a DIY approach. Anyone can take pictures, generate internet content, or write their own articles and offer them to any social or website platform. Currently, magazine companies do not operate their digital properties as autonomous entities and they are heavily reliant on their printed editions for their articles. Likely this trend in the industry will not change by 2017, due to the failures of The Daily. One of the largest barriers of digital advertising in magazines is the lack of a unified standard. This applies not only to metrics, with being able to monitor your data, but also the wide array of platforms. There are different requirements to deliver your media to Blackberry, Android, iOS, Windows 8, HTML5, Zinio, PressReader, Apple Newsstand, or any other 3rd party. All of these options have the entire industry in a state of confusion over what ecosystem to support and where the money is best spent. Do you continue with online advertising on their main website? Do you invest with Amazon, Google and Apple to spread your message via in-app advertising? Do you continue to spend money on the printed edition? There are many options to consider, with no definitive status quo. by Michael Kozlowski source


DPS at Adobe MAX – 2013

Did you miss the Digital Publishing Suite sessions at Adobe MAX? If so, fear not. Most have been recorded and are live on Adobe TV. The DPS team led a lot of great tutorials on using Digital Publishing Suite, and those recordings are listed at the bottom of this blog post. Send your graphic designers and developers to those links in case they want to learn how to use DPS with step-by-step instructions.

Leaders in digital publishing joined us to discuss their digital publishing strategy, and we are delighted to share a full video of their talks here.

Corporate Publishing Session: Engaging Your Customers and Employees with Mobile Apps

Watch the full length video on Adobe TV.

MAX
Melissa Webster, Jose Andrade, Brooke Entsminger, Daniel Riley, and Christian Russo

As we said in last week’s Corporate Publishing Summit recap, brands and businesses are using Digital Publishing Suite in a range of use cases that we hadn’t imagined when the product launched several years ago. The following DPS customers joined moderator Melissa Webster from IDC to share how they use DPS to build apps for their businesses.

  • Jose Andrade from Publicis Life Brands Medicus and Brooke Entsminger from Lung LLC discussed how they use DPS for a medical sales tool.
  • Christian Russo from Sotheby’s International Realty shared their privately published app delivered to their real estate network.
  • Daniel Riley from UCLA School of Management showed us the alumni magazine, which is now only available on iPad.

Corporate Publishing: Key Takeaways

  • Efficiency: The panelists use DPS as an efficient mobile app platform. For pharmaceutical companies, this efficiency allows them to make quick changes for the review committee. For Sotheby’s International Realty, this efficiency allows them to deliver three to four updates per month.
  • Cost savings: UCLA has stopped printing its alumni magazine and only delivers it to alumni via iPad. Publicis and Sotheby’s International Realty have reduced printing costs by providing PDFs that the sales team can print if they choose.
  • Analytics: Understanding app usage helps each of our panelists define the editorial strategy moving forward. Because this app is new to Sotheby’s International realty, the team is looking at the daily use increase and the percentage of network downloads in order to understand its acceptance in the field. Publicis and Lung LLC are looking at the level of interaction between the patient and physician.
  • Marketing Mix: For UCLA, the DPS alumni magazine serves as a piece of the marketing mix, and the content is complemented by other activities conducted by the alumni office. However, Sotheby’s International Realty said that the app IS their marketing mix – in that it is the central means of communication with the field.

Magazine Publishing Session: From Print to Digital Media: Building a Digital Publishing Business

Watch the full length video on Adobe TVMAX
Bill Mickey, Anthony Cerretani, and Meghan Milkowski

Publishing magazines on iPad has become much more mainstream than it was at the 2011 MAX conference. The community of publishers is beginning to set best practices, but the jury is still out on some issues. The following DPS customers joined Bill Mickey from Folio to discuss their digital publishing stories.

  • Anthony Cerretani, Backpacker Magazine
  • Meghan Milkowski, Prometheus Global Media (Billboard, Adweek, Hollywood Reporter)

Magazine Publishing: Key Takeaways

  • Adoption of DPS: Active Interest Media (publisher of Backpacker) initiated a competition a few years ago to see which title could publish onto the iPad first. Evidently, the Backpacker team won. Cerretani’s team continues to push the envelope with our platform. At Prometheus, the creatives were champions of DPS, and because of their enthusiasm for the platform, they were willing to stay up late at night to figure out how to use it.
  • Production: Neither publisher has hired new employees to create the digital magazine. Instead, both have built in efficiencies to deliver the print and digital magazine at the same time. While templates are helpful, both publishers indicated that the mindset of the production team has shifted to include both digital and print.
  • Advertising: Backpacker and Prometheus encourage other publishers to sponsor special editions and magazine launches. Advertisers love being spotlighted in special issues.
  • In-app marketing: Readers love special editions and back issues. Backpacker said that it was worth investing in PDF replicas of back issues since they are popular with existing iPad readers.

Other MAX Videos

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20% of All US Newspapers Are Digital

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Newspapers in the US are on the decline right now and the entire industry is seeing explosive growth via the digital offerings. The New York Times is the current poster child of implementing a solid paywall strategy and seeing the largest gains. Currently, 20% of all newspaper circulation in the US is now digital.

The entire newspaper industry a slight decline by 0.7%, according to a recent poll by Alliance for Audited Media. The saving grace to most the newspaper industry was The New York Times, which saw a total digital subscriber base of 1,865,318 people. It had recently surpassed the USA Today in terms of the increased visibility of its brand.

As explained in this article, the New York Times, USA Today, and the Wall Street Journal currently lead the entire digital newspaper segment by a long-shot. They all have an active subscription base of at least 1.5 million people. The competition basically evens out at 300,000.

One of the most interesting aspects about the 593 companies that contributed their data was the decreased interest in Replica Editions, due to the preference of using apps. Replicas are basically the digital mirror images of the printed edition. You see local advertising, crossword puzzles, obituaries, and much more. The digital editions, as found in apps, often have a very image and text heavy format, but are designed for tablets and smartphones. This gives readers an inherent advantage over just visiting the website. Some apps allow the newspaper to be read aloud, or give new abilities to edit the font size, font type, or margins.

Newspaper companies are starting to see dividends by making custom versions of their apps for the Kindle Fire, Nook HD, and Blackberry. The main key to digital growth, is making your content accessible, and all three of those companies employ the same tactics.

It seems that the newspaper industry is fairly even, in terms of the current subscriber base. The real growth is digital, and it will be interesting to see if the next six months see continued elevated growth patterns.


As Android tablets grow, publishers struggle to match the iPad experience

When the IDC forecast past month that Google’s Android operating system would soon surpass Apple’s iOS in tablet market share, publishers of digital magazines could be excused for some handwringing.

Since 2010, Apple’s dominance of the market allowed publishers to reach the majority of the tablet audience by targeting just one device: the iPad. But times have changed.

Thirty-one percent of American adults now own tablets, according to Pew. Much of the growth in the market is being driven by device proliferation, and many of these devices run Android.

The Nexus 10 Android tablet
A Google employee browses magazine issues on The Nexus 10 tablet at a Google announcement in San Francisco last fall. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

The relative affordability and portability of new down-sized tablets like the Nexus 7 offer more entry points for tablet consumers, but they present headaches for digital magazine publishers: How do they best reach readers on dozens of different devices with wildly varying screen sizes and processing power?

Why most of you start with iPads

So far, Symbolia, a comics journalism anthology launched late last year by Erin Polgreen and Joyce Rice, has avoided those questions by publishing its first two interactive issues for iPad only.

With just three tablet devices to worry about — standard display iPad, retina display iPad and iPad Mini, all with the same aspect ratio — iOS presented the quickest, cleanest way to reach a large chunk of the tablet audience at launch.

Another point in Apple’s favor: iOS devices are some of the more powerful tablets on the market, ensuring that Symbolia, loaded with pop-ups and HTML animations, would perform cleanly. But as Polgreen and Rice explore expanding to Android, performance and screen size are primary concerns.

“Some of the Androids are very powerful, but some of them aren’t, and I don’t think you get to make a lot of choices in the Android marketplace about who can see your content and who can’t,” said Rice, the creative director. “So it’s definitely a balancing act. I want it to look awesome for everyone, but it’s really determined by the window you’re looking at it through.

That’s a balancing act that Polgreen, the editor and publisher, said Symbolia has no choice but to face. The top request from readers of Symbolia, which also publishes a non-interactive PDF version for those without iPads, is for an Android edition.

“Androids are the primary global operating system,” Polgreen said. “iPads are great. They have a very strong market share, but we’re a global publication. We leave Android out at our own peril.”

Having an Android presence can mean many different things, some of which could be perilous themselves.

Adobe DPS saves production time

The New Republic, which introduced a cross-platform redesign in January, publishes an elegant interactive iPad version of the magazine, with a tappable table of contents, animated section headers and interactive features.

But the version in Google Play’s magazine store is merely a PDF replica of the print magazine. (It also costs a dollar more per issue, but that’s another story.) On a 7-inch Nexus 7, I found it tough to read unless I switched to Google’s magazine text mode. Doing so, however, removes the pleasures of experiencing a magazine layout.

Why the inferior Android product? “It comes down to the simple basic principle of manpower,” TNR’s creative director Dirk Barnett said, adding that his staff of three designers are working on an iPhone version next. “I think we’re just going to sort of pick it off one device at a time once we have it integrated into our workflow process.”

Barnett’s design team uses Adobe’s Digital Publishing Suite to develop and publish the TNR app for iPad. InDesign CS6 introduced liquid layout and alternate layout, tools that drastically reduce the manpower it takes to design for various screen resolutions and orientations.

But until that additional time investment is eliminated altogether, newsrooms will face tough choices about which platforms are worth the sweat and tears required of making tedious adjustments.

PDF replicas predominant on Android

TNR is far from alone in its decision to forgo interactivity on Android devices. Even Popular Science, which has seen 1.6 million unique downloads in Apple’s App Store and was hailed as “king of the hill” on stage by Steve Jobs, still only publishes a PDF replica in the Google Play store.

The Mag+ ecosystem, developed for Popular Science in 2010 and spun out as a separate company in early 2011, initially only supported iPad. It added Android compatibility in June 2011, with two options for publishers wanting to expand:

1) Manually rejigger each page’s iPad layout to fit various Android screen sizes (similar to Adobe’s alternate layout solution, but without the benefit of working within a single document); or

2) Allow Mag+ to scale and letterbox existing layouts automatically for Android devices.

(Full disclosure: I work as a tablet app designer at the Chicago Sun-Times, where we use Mag+ to publish a free Sunday sports magazine for iPad and iPhone. Our other sports apps are designed primarily for iPad with letterboxed Android versions available in the Google Play store.)

Mag+ recently reached a 1,000-app milestone, but just 20 percent of those apps are offered in the Google Play marketplace, Mike Haney, chief product officer, told Poynter. Most of Adobe’s North American clients are primarily focused on iOS, too, said Lynly Schambers-Lenox, group product marketing manager of digital publishing for Adobe.

One reason: workflow restraints like those at TNR. “If the platforms like ours are doing our job well, we make that easy for you to do,” Haney said. And for the most part, manually adjusting a page with either system is easy: Adobe has liquid layout, and Mag+ allows for exporting pages to other InDesign templates that then require mostly minimal adjustments. But these minor adjustments multiplied over dozens of page layouts can become majorly prohibitive.

Another potential reason for publishers’ hesitation to switch from PDFs to native apps on Android: the Google Play magazine store operates differently from Apple’s Newsstand. Whereas Newsstand serves as a hub for apps with the full, optimized functionality of any other app on iPads, Google’s magazine store acts as more of an app itself, facilitating the reading of PDFs.

That can be confusing, as magazine apps exist in the Play store outside the PDF-filled magazine store. At the same time, Haney said, differing expectations of what magazines can do in the Apple App Store versus the Google Play store can provide publishers some leeway when it comes to getting their feet wet with Android by going with PDF replicas. In other words, the competition isn’t as fierce on Android.

Plus, Haney said, the fact that the Google Play and Amazon Kindle stores haven’t developed a way to migrate readers of the PDF magazines to newly developed interactive apps could dissuade publishers who don’t want to lose the audience they’ve built.

Kindle Fire apps still lag far behind Google and Apple in sales, and some reports indicate Android users are less willing to pay for apps than iOS users. If Android users are indeed less likely to buy magazines, that could also be behind publishers’ unwillingness to invest much in them. And that’s a cycle that might not be broken until publishing tools reach a “design once, publish everywhere” solution—something Adobe’s pressing for, Schambers-Lenox said.

Game Informer and The Next Web: two extremes

Haney cited Game Informer as a magazine finding success in both major marketplaces, but even Game Informer’s tablet strategy has some wrinkles.

It publishes a massive iPad edition with Mag+, chock-full of screenshots and embedded video (the October 2012 issue I downloaded had 180 pages and more than 700 megabytes worth of content). The design team, led by creative director Jeff Akervik, also produces an edition for 10-inch Android devices such as the Samsung Galaxy Tab and Note.

For the 7- and 12-inch tablets, though, Game Informer sends its native InDesign files used for print to a team at Google to produce an interactive version with far fewer bells and whistles. “I’m not a real big fan of how vastly different they are from a creative standpoint, but it gets us in the space,” Akervic said of these editions in an email.

It’s definitely a step up from PDF replicas, and workflow restraints mean the Google outsourcing is the only way an interactive version on smaller tablets can exist. “Otherwise, there’d be no way we could physically do that many different designs,” Akervic said. “It’s a tough haul as it is.”

Others publishers, meanwhile, have determined the haul is too tough to include Android at all. The Next Web announced in December that it would stop publishing TNW Magazine for Android. The nature of its content meant it was too cumbersome to adjust layouts and links, founder Boris Veldhuijzen van Zanten wrote in a blog post:

“In theory you simply adjust for a different format and platform and do a new export. But then trouble starts. As one developer put it to us: ‘You make a beautiful magazine for the iPad, and then you dumb it down for Android.’” And once they did so, he wrote, iPad downloads outpaced Android 80-to-1.

Still, if your publication is small and without an overwhelming amount of interactive content, designing for Android should be a relatively small investment. Every reader counts, particularly those on a platform that seems poised to continue growing. Haney recommends building for iOS first, particularly if you’re a small publisher, because of the strong infrastructure already in place.

After that, publishing a standard 1280×800 Android layout will get the magazine on most Android tablets. Buy a Nexus 7—it’s only $199—and see how your content looks on a smaller device. If you don’t build it, they won’t come—and maybe Android users willing to pay for well-designed interactive apps are actually out there, ready to play ball.

Happy designing! (And redesigning… and redesigning… and redesigning… )

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Mobile shopping: retail app usage on the rise

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PRSS aims to be a low-cost iPad magazine factory in the cloud

By launching their own iPad-only travel magazine, TRVL, in September 2010, entrepreneur Michel Elings and photographer and writer Jochem Wijnands garnered glowing reviews and a shout-out from Apple SVP Eddy Cue.

 

 

Now the Amsterdam pair want to help other would-be publishers feel the same glow — by giving away dedicated new web-based software they recently wrote themselves to redesign their own publication.

Called PRSS and launched on Thursday, the template-driven production suite lets people drag and drop web objects to design pages, is free for anyone to use and saves on distribution costs by storing magazines on Amazon’s cloud hosts.

TRVL claims to have clocked 700,000 installs, around 450,000 regular readers and has impressed by introducing a model in which individual destination articles, rather than an entire magazine, can be downloaded in its app.

But, still, Elings and Wijnands had an itch. And its name was Woodwing, the 12-year-old company that makes one of the most popular packages for producing iPad magazines.

“I had to learn Adobe InDesign to use Woodwing and it wasn’t really intuitive,” Elings said. “We were happy using it for a while but, in our app, it took seven steps just to tweet an article link — 30 percent of users go away when you build in an extra step.

“Distribution costs for Woodwing, InDesign and all the others are so expensive. People were downloading terabytes of data from our magazines, this wasn’t cheap to us. We also had to pay Apple a 30 percent cut and Adobe takes a 30 percent – you have only 40 percent left!” Elings says he didn’t mind paying Apple 30 percent but had to pay Adobe 30 percent on top of Apple’s commission.

The pair had enough when Woodwing last year agreed to a closer Adobe tie-up in which it became an InDesign reseller. “It was a blessing in disguise,” Elings says. “We thought, ‘Let’s do it ourselves.’ I wanted to make the magazine design software that Apple forgot, where everything just works.”

So, just like Wijnands, who has photographed for the likes of National Geographic for 15 years, and Elings, whose former consulting firm advised Apple among others, had done with their earlier tablet-only magazine incursion itself, they set about trying to reinvent the very software used to make such magazines.

The result is PRSS, the web-based suite the TRVL team now uses to make its own magazine. The benefits are smaller file sizes and cheaper distribution costs, Elings says.

“InDesign made a picture of every page, even when it was just text. Our photos became four times larger. A magazine was nearly 200Mb. In our software, the magazine is now 35Mb. We just cut 80 percent of the file size and the photos are even better.” The reduction means magazines can be downloaded and read quicker.

And, rather than rely on Woodwing and Adobe to host those hefty uploaded titles for distributing to iPad Newsstand customers, PRSS keeps them in low-cost Amazon storage. ”Today, I uninstalled InDesign. We can do everything in the cloud,” Elings says.

Give it away now

TRVL is not the only publisher to write its own tablet magazine production software. U.K. magazine house Future has also created its own suite, Folio, on which it is now building several selected titles — weening itself off the large industrial packages and offering Folio to other publishers as a service.

Although Elings and Wijnands conceived PRSS for themselves, making it widely available is also a strategy they want to follow. The service is now live to interested enquirers, and TRVL hopes to profit from a commission.

“PRSS will be totally free to use,” Elings tells me. “But, if you start distributing a magazine, you will have to pay a small fee to us.

“You don’t have to pay us a license fee, commission or share revenue with us — but you have to pay for distribution costs from Amazon. We want to take a little percentage of the download costs, we are going to make that fair and transparent. We will make a very small amount of money.”

Do it yourself

The proceeds may support TRVL’s independent travel photojournalism efforts, but Elings also appears to hope such actions can help kickstart an independent tablet magazine market.

The prospect is tantalizing. In the 1980s and 90s, desktop publishing (DTP) software and cheap printers helped amateur bedroom designers make their own newsletters, fanzines and posters. The web has unleashed that creativity still further. But, in tablet-specific publishing, production remains the preserve of a few established publishing houses with the resources to rent the kind of software packages Elings has come to detest.

“iPad magazines aren’t taking off yet because the apps are badly designed,” he told me. “They are all going for multiplatform instead of doing individual platforms right.

“We want to help the market. If this works, a lot of new publishers will start up — you can start your own magazine. We want to make an iPad editing app as well, where you can make an iPad magazine on your iPad — that would be cool.”

Such a thing could amplify the democratization of publishing from which TRVL’s Wijnands and Elings have themselves benefitted.

“We met each other by coincidence,” Elings said. “A day after, we started our own magazine. I was one of the few in the Netherlands with an iPad. I said, ‘Why don’t we start a magazine? We can charge less than National Geographic and become very rich. Well, that didn’t quite work out — it was early days.”

TRVL has scored points if not yet riches, gaining 100,000 downloads in its first year — and doubling that figure when Apple introduced in-app download and, later, Newsstand. All articles are free to download — only “coffee-table”-style photo “books” cost $2 — and the title is trying to sell interactive ads like those it runs currently for Canon.

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