Apps the way to go!
Application developers, journalists and editors discuss how apps can help resuscitate online magazines and the challenges they face.
Asymco, a Helsinki-based industry analysis advisory firm, have predicted that the income generated from online application sales will overtake the income generated from digital music sales within three years.
The February 2011 ABC figures revealed that just four out of the top-12 magazines publishing houses have registered a profit on year-on-year sales.
Alex Watson, Head of App Development at Dennis Publishing (one of the four companies to register a profit), admits that it’s a very exciting time for applications. ‘Their importance has taken people by surprise. You’re at a point where it has become a multi-billion dollar industry within three years so there’s a significant consumer interest in them.’
Apps vs websites
But Jack Parsons, editor of Listed Magazine Bournemouth, doesn’t feel that apps do much more than a website. ‘I feel apps are just an extension of the internet. It’s just an extension of what the net did already. They’re exciting and fun but it doesn’t have the content more than the net, it just means it’s in your back-pocket.’
So how can apps differentiate themselves from content on the website? Watson describes a successful example Dennis Publishing have used:
Media lecturer, former editor and journalist, Chris Wheal, says, ‘If you want to read several publications and have to have all those apps, then its just quicker going online. You can sit with your computer open and get an RSS feed from each and do it much quicker. Apps aren’t there to be readers but to engage the audience.’
Former FT.com news editor, Liisa Rohumaa believes that apps are there to benefit websites. ‘The best apps will do things differently from the website. They are, after all, there to compliment a website and not replace it.’
Good app vs bad app
Depending on the level of intricacy and scale of designing and production involved, it can take anything from a few weeks to a few months (games) to produce an app. Watson says that since the app industry is relatively new (three years), there’s no standard way of doing things and it’s more a case of learning through research and development.
As an app developer, Watson says the challenge is not to get carried away with the amount you can do. ‘Users like to see you using animation, gps, accelerometer, etc. Multimedia, too, is extremely important but you don’t want to put flashy stuff in there just for being flashy. It has to help the user do what he needs to do. It’s difficult to strike a balance between usability, being attractive and pulling the user in.’
He says that apps are definitely not a fad as they are already so popular even though not everyone owns a smartphone. From the looks of things, Asymco totally agrees with him.
Posted on June 28, 2011, in Magazines and tagged abc, alex watson, alice for the ipad, app developer, apps, asymco, bournemouth university, chris wheal, consumer magazine, dennis publishing, digitization, jack parsons, james pope, james tye, lisaa rohumaa, listed bournemouth, magazines, music industry, paul bradshaw, roman gerodimos, sales, sherwin coelho, stats, tablets. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.