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#wef12: Six lessons in tablet storytelling

September 4th, 2012 | No Comments | Posted by in Events, Mobile, Multimedia, Newspapers
Copyright: C. Regina on Flickr. Some rights reserved.

Image by C.Regina on Flickr. Some rights reserved

At last year’s World Editors Forum in Vienna we reported on the 10 great tips shared by Mario Garcia, founder of Garcia Media, on creating news apps.

At this year’s event in Kiev Garcia is back, and he shared with delegates some of the lessons learned in the past couple of years when it comes to storytelling on tablet devices.

In summary, here are just six of the takeaways to be gained from his presentation:

  • The editor today needs to undertand the sociology of how readers use tablet platforms and remember the multimedia approach

Garcia urged editors to not think it is all about the newspaper. “No one expects to have the breaking news there,” he said.

In the eyes of consumer, digital is current, print is old, not abandoned, but old.

… Still newspapers write headlines as if they’re the only forms of communication these days.

He added that news outlets need to show they are a multimedia house. Therefore “no marketing campaign should be based on one of the platforms”.

  • Be visual and make something happen

A main point made by Garcia was about the importance of the visual element on tablet devices, where users “don’t just want a photo”, he said. “They want something to happen”.

He suggested that every four or five screens users should be offered “a moment where the finger touches the screen and something happens”.

Whatever it is, in the tablet you can not be linear.

… If all you do is turn the pages, readers will not be happy.

Garcia also referred to a Poynter study due to be published in the next few weeks, which found the majority of people preferred the “flipboard” visual style, with photo galleries and videos.

  • The story is what counts

While lessons have been learned about tablet storytelling, content remains king.

Garcia offered a new definiton of news, as “anything you know now that you did not know 15 minutes ago, or 15 seconds ago”.

And this piece of news is “what counts”, not the platform it is distributed on.

  • Understand the pattern of consumption during the day

Garcia said research shows most people use tablets after 6pm in the evening, while the average person reading on the tablet at night has the television on at the same time.

  • Users are willing to pay on tablets

The research also found that those who use tablets are more willing to pay for content than online users.

With that in mind, he highlighted the potential for news outlets – bearing in mind the 85 million iPads in the market today, which he said may reach “more than 165 million soon”.

  • Print has not been abandoned

And despite all this, “there is a place for print as a lean-back platform,” Garcia stressed. “Print is eternal, but only if it adapts”.

And “paper has the power of disconnect”, with print readers able to “totally unplug and read.”

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#GEN2012: After free newspapers, Metro International predicts free tablets

June 1st, 2012 | No Comments | Posted by in Journalism, Newspapers

The president of European free newspaper giant Metro International predicts that, within five years, the cost of tablet computers will be so low that publishers will hand them out to readers free of charge.

Per Mikael Jensen told the News World Summit in Paris that he believed basic tablets could eventually be produced for about $1 and used to push out news – not providing full internet access but a locked-down experience. He said:

If I was able to push information to a very low-cost tablet – and hand out a tablet to my readers, that may be an opportunity. I do believe that within five years we will see the cost come down and you can hand out tablets for free.

Jensen also said he believed that paywalls were only suitable for about one per cent of media outlets – possibly five per cent at a push. “The rest of us will have to find other revenue models than paywalls,” he said.

He predicted that online advertising costs would continue to tumble and head towards zero.

It is now cheaper for big brands to advertise than it was 20 years ago and I’m afraid to say that journey will continue. It’s basic capitalism. You have endless amounts of supply and more or less the same demand.

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Tablets and mobiles boost BBC iPlayer use

The BBC has reported a 94 per cent year-on-year surge in the use of its iPlayer TV and radio catch-up service on mobile and tablet devices.

New figures covering the first four months of 2012 show 15 per cent of all programme requests made in April were on tablets or mobiles – some 28 million streamed programmes in a month.

The total number of requests for TV and radio programmes rose 24 per cent year-on-year to 190 million in the period from January to the end of April.

Radio use of the iPlayer was boosted by demand for football coverage on BBC Radio 5Live. Among the most listened-to radio programmes in April were 5Live’s coverage of the Champions League (Barcelona v Chelsea), Premier League (Manchester City v Manchester United) and FA Cup (Liverpool v Everton).

The BBC said it would publish iPlayer statistics on a monthly basis from now on. The report does not include requests for web-only content (such as online news clips) – only requests for full-length programmes which have been transmitted on a TV channel or radio station.

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#jpod: How multiplatform strategies are evolving

December 2nd, 2011 | No Comments | Posted by in Events, Mobile, Podcast

This podcast takes a look at multiplatform strategies and how newsrooms – and journalists and editors – are adapting and creating content to be viewed on four or five screens: desktop, mobile, tablets, e-readers and IPTV.

It hears from Patrice Slupowski, vice president of digital innovation and communities at Orange, and Guido Baumhauer, director of strategy for marketing and distribution at Deutsche Welle, who spoke to Journalism.co.uk’s news editor Rachel McAthy at the inaugural Global Editor’s Network news summit this week.

The podcast, presented by Journalism.co.uk technology correspondent Sarah Marshall, also includes an interview with Adam Thomas, communications manager at  Sourcefabric, a not-for-profit that last month announced the creation of Superdesk, a free multiplatform solution for newsrooms due to launch in summer 2012.

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#news2011: ‘Content is king, efficient delivery is King Kong’ and ‘experience is queen’

Media consumers today have the options of numerous screens when accessing content, but a session at the Global Editors Network news summit today focused on building a “four-screen strategy: mobile, tablet, PC and IPTV”.

The session opened with a powerful speech from former director general of Al Jazeera Wadah Khanfar, whose comments embodied the standpoint of content being “king”.

Concentrate on content. People demand accuracy and credibility. Content is the king, platforms and distribution should be there to service, but the strategy is always to integrate the content in a centralised location then redistribute the output.

He went on to say that “technology sometimes distracts us”.

It should not become central to the extent that the journalist becomes a technician and loses touch with the pillars of the profession. He has to be the journalist, but sometimes he has to be the technician.

We demand too much sometimes for our journalists. It starts from one important departure – from our responsibilities.

… We are here to understand what is behind the surface and what exactly the story means. We need to think beyond the data.

Continuing the metaphor Guido Baumhauer, director of strategy for marketing and distribution at Deutsche Welle, said that “content is king, efficient delivery is King Kong.”

We have to understand what it is people are interested in, that’s where the technology kicks in.

And the delivery of this is determined by their POPE strategy, he said – “plan once publish everywhere”. He described it further to me in an interview after the session:

The idea behind it is if you want to reach different platforms with your content you have to tailor it to the needs of the platform and target groups. It can never be done if you produce once and publish everywhere. So if there’s a television item that you then put on a mobile device or on a similar device, it doesn’t really make any sense.

But if you plan from beginning that there is some part of the content that you have produced that will go to mobile and some that will go to television, it means you plan once then publish everywhere and that does make sense.

During the session he also said “we have to stop thinking in broadcasting terms”.

We have to become part of the dialogue. If [the audience] still stands at the gate, he or she will just walk around us because the gate has no fence anymore. We have to become part of the network.

The BBC’s controller of digital and technology James Montgomery also shared the broadcaster’s approach to multiplatforms, telling the conference the BBC is “trying to move towards seamless coherence between platforms” and offer “access to the same content in different ways”.

By creating a “joined-up experience and content delivered across multiple platforms” he said that “adding a fifth or sixth [screen] in the future wouldn’t be difficult”.

In terms of use across different platforms at different times of the day, he said mobile devices tend to “spike” in the morning while access via desktops is more prevalent at lunchtime. He said the research also showed mobile – and especially tablets – were peaked in the evenings.

On the subject of tablets, the final panel member to present, Patrice Slupowski, vice president of digital innovation and communities at Orange, unveiled for the first time a new iPad app not yet launched called Newsblend, with the declaration that “if content is king … experience is queen”.

The app brings together “videos, drawings, polls and social media” along with news articles, and mixes them together to create a “social magazine”.

It is a smart clustering of news and social media.

The app content is currently in French but there are plans to launch an English version also when it goes live next year.

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#wef11 audio: Zeit Online’s Wolfgang Blau on not being ‘locked into an app’

October 14th, 2011 | No Comments | Posted by in Events, Online Journalism

At the World Editors Forum today editor-in-chief of German news site Zeit Online, Wolfgang Blau, discussed the company’s decision to build a html5-optimised site to present the website on the tablet instead of a native app, which is instead used alongside its print products.

Some of the advantages for this model, as cited by Blau included having shorter product cycles which are better suited to the web environment, lower development and maintenance costs and the opportunity for higher advertising revenue.

I spoke to him after the session to get more detail on Zeit Online’s approach:

Wolfgang Blau, Zeit Online by journalismnews

During our conversation I mention Apple’s new subscription rules and the concerns this raised for some publishers about lost revenue and the lack of a direct relationship with the audience and related data.

When Apple first announced its new subscription plans in February they states that “customers purchasing a subscription through the App Store will be given the option of providing the publisher with their name, email address and zip code when they subscribe”.

You can read more on this debate here and about the Financial Times’ decision to also use a web-based app at this link.

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OJR: Apps v eBooks – are we missing paid content opportunity?

September 14th, 2011 | No Comments | Posted by in Editors' pick, Mobile, Online Journalism

In an interesting post on the Online Journalism Review website Robert Niles weighs up the opportunities for publishers investing in apps versus eBooks. In his post Niles says he would be surprised to find a newsroom spending “even half of what its devoting to app development on eBooks”.

But with a quick look at the pricing of the top paid apps compared to eBooks, he says it is about time news organisations take “a serious look” at the eBook market.

There have been some recent examples of news outlets entering the eBook market and ultimately enhancing the shelf-life of news content as a result. Last month the Guardian launched its pwm new series of eBooks called Guardian Shorts, which started with Phone Hacking: How the Guardian broke the story.

According to Niles within the News category of the app store, the most expensive paid app in the top 20 was Instapaper at $4.99, compared to the Politics & Current Events category in iBooks, where he recorded that 19 out of the top 20 sell for at least $4.99.

Clearly, the public is willing to – and does – pay more for content in eBooks than it does in apps. That fact should encourage any serious news business to take a serious look at eBooks. But what about volume? That’s where I couldn’t find reliable data comparing sales in the app store versus sales of eBooks. But it’s clear from the pricing that a news organisation would need to sell many times more apps than eBooks for apps to have better sales revenue, given the higher price points routinely supported in eBook stores.

Read more here…

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paidContent: Seven more tablet titles on the horizon at Nomad Editions

June 2nd, 2011 | No Comments | Posted by in Editors' pick, Magazines

paidContent reports that Nomad Editions, a US company which aims to produce magazines for tablet subscriptions, has more than half a dozen titles “in the pipeline”

In an interview with paidContent, Nomad Editions’ CEO Mark Edmiston, former president of Newsweek, claims 50 per cent of those taking subscriptions for existing titles are taking out a whole year.

Nomad is trying to prove that tablets can be platforms for new as well as existing brands. Rather than convert existing titles to tablet, it taps journalists to devise new titles along with it, with an interesting new model – for pay, each editor takes five percent of subscription income, whilst writers split 30 percent between them.

Read more here…

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MediaGuardian: The Daily to launch in the UK within months

March 17th, 2011 | No Comments | Posted by in Editors' pick, Mobile

The Media Guardian reports that News Corporation’s iPad newspaper the Daily will be available in the UK within months, following comments by News Corporation’s chief digital officer Jon Miller at the Abu Dhabi Media Summit.

The arrival of the Daily in the UK will depend on when Apple’s new online subscription model becomes available in this country, the report adds.

The chief digital officer of Murdoch’s News Corporation, Jon Miller, told the Abu Dhabi Media Summit that the Daily would be available in western Europe “not too long from now”. When asked if that would be in the first half of this year, he answered yes.

Full story on Media Guardian at this link.

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Mashable: Online overtakes print as main news source

Mashable is reporting that a study in America, carried out by US journalism researcher Poynter, has found that for the first time more people are getting their news online than from a newspaper.

Online advertising has also overtaken newspaper ad revenue. According to Mashable, the web is the only medium to see a year-on-year growth, with radio, TV, newspapers and magazines all suffering a decline. Poynter’s research also shows that almost half of Americans got at least some of their news on a mobile device or tablet.

In surveys, 34 per cent of respondents said they read news online within the past 24 hours (as opposed to 31 per cent who favoured newspapers); and a full 41 per cent said they get most of their news online, 10 per cent more than those who said they got most of their news from a newspaper.

Full post on Mashable at this link.

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