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Economist launches US election web app

January 11th, 2012 | No Comments | Posted by in Mobile

The Economist has launched Electionism, an HTML5 web app for tablets, focusing on the US election.

Publishers will be interested to note the development of an app that works across a range of tablets, including the iPad, Galaxy Tab and Kindle Fire (yet to be released in the UK), and will also soon be available on the Blackberry PlayBook.

Rather than being downloaded from an app store, it is accessed by following a link in the tablet’s web browser.

Although designed for tablets, a simple version of the app works on mobile, presenting a Tumblr blog-style format (indeed, the app is “powered by Tumblr”).

This is the the Economist’s first foray into a web app that will work across several devices, unlike its range of apps native to Android and Apple’s iOS.

Electionism includes content from the Economist, CQ Roll Call and other noteworthy election reports from around the web.

Tom Standage, digital editor of the Economist, said in a release:

Electionism combines the Economist’s day-to-day opinion and commentary on the US elections, from our Webby-award-winning Democracy in America blog, with detailed on-the-ground coverage from CQ Roll Call and our picks of the best election coverage from elsewhere on the web, all wrapped up in a tablet-friendly format.

Nick Blunden, global managing director and publisher of the Economist online added:

It is extremely important to us that we provide our readers with not just commentary and analysis, but also the opportunity to discuss and debate the key issues. By building content sharing functionality through Facebook, Twitter and email into the Electionism app, we have provided readers with the ability to engage others in a conversation around the election.

Electionism was created by the Economist Group Media Lab, an internal product innovation group, and built in conjunction with its Toronto-based technology partner, Pressly.

  • Tom Standage, who is quoted in thus post, will be speaking at news:rewired, a conference for digital journalists organised by Journalism.co.uk. See the agenda, list of speakers and list of delegates. Tickets cost £130 +VAT and can be booked using the ticket page. More than 140 tickets have been sold. Book now to avoid disappointment.
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#followjourn – @tomstandage Tom Standage/digital editor

December 16th, 2011 | No Comments | Posted by in Recommended journalists

Who? Tom Standage

Where? Tom is digital editor at the Economist, where he oversees the website and other digital editions. He will be speaking at news:rewired – media in motion on paid-content models.

Twitter? @tomstandage

Just as we like to supply you with fresh and innovative tips, we are recommending journalists to follow online too. Recommended journalists can be from any sector of the industry: please send suggestions (you can nominate yourself) to rachel at journalism.co.uk; or to @journalismnews.

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Economist launches app into Android Market

August 2nd, 2011 | No Comments | Posted by in Magazines, Mobile, Traffic

The Economist officially launches its app for Android phones and tablets today (2 August).

The app was released to the Android Market last week and, according to the market, has been downloaded between 10,000 and 50,000 times in one week and rated more than 230 times averaging 3.6 stars. A press spokesperson for the Economist was unable to confirm or release download figures.

The new app follows in the footsteps of the magazine’s iPhone and iPad apps, which have seen 2.4 million downloads since they were launched in November.

“We now have almost 700,000 unique devices accessing the apps each month,” Oscar Grut, managing director, digital editions said in a release.

Speaking in June, Tom Standage, digital editor, said around half of those accessing content were paying subscribers.

As with all digital content, Android users will be able to read some articles for free but will need to pay for a subscription to receive all content. A weekly subscription allows users to receive the magazine by post, plus read content via the app and paywalled website, which is available from 9pm on a Thursday evening (5pm New York time), 12 hours before it is delivered through a subscriber’s letter box.

A single issue can be bought via the app for £3.99. The magazine cover price is £4.

Once downloaded, issues are stored on the user’s device and can be read when not connected to the internet. Every issue also includes a full audio edition.

The Android app, which operates on all Android phones and small and medium tablets running OS 2.x, was built by TigerSpike, which built iPad apps for the Economist, the Telegraph and Time Out.

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#mobilemedia11: FT web-based iPad and iPhone app a ‘wake-up call’ to publishers

The release of the Financial Times’ web-based HTML5  app has provided “a big wake up call” to publishers , said Andrew Grill, keynote speaker at the today’s Mobile Media Strategies day.

Earlier this month the FT released an HTML5-based iPad and iPhone app which circumvents the 30 per cent charges levied on app sales by Apple by allowing users to update content through the FT website and thus allowing the newspaper to take the full revenue.

The Economist is “watching closely” and Tom Standage, digital editor of the title, signalled it may follow suit.

“HTML5 will be the answer to all of our problems; even if it’s not yet,” predicted Ilicco Elia, a mobile product expert, who until yesterday worked for Reuters and is yet to announce where he will be working next.

Elia warned that “you can’t do everything in HTML5″ and said it was a sensible option for the FT to launch in HTML5 compared with an unknown title. “It’s okay of you’re the FT because people know the brand in will go in search of it,” he explained.

Many publishers are now looking at the HTML5 hybrid: not a pure app, not a pure browser experience, said John Barnes, managing director digital strategy and development at Incisive Media, which works with B2B publishers. He explained the dilemma between developing apps when working with very different titles.

Barnes gave the example of two titles he works with: Legal Week, where 10.5 per cent of web visits are mobile, most of them accessing the site via a BlackBerry device. He urged the audience to compare this with Photography magazine which is mostly read on the iPad and iPhone.

During a session on how to make money with mobile media, Paul Lynette, head of mobile advertising at EMEA, Microsoft Advertising, showed the potential for in app ads using HTML5.

Thinking of developing an app, an mobile site or a HTML5 hybrid?

Considering the advantages of mobile editions (m.editions) versus apps versus the HTML5 hybrid, Barnes said the advantage of m.editions is they are browser-based and, therefore, provide full integration with a CMS, have the same domain name, integration with analytics and web trends.

And for news sites without an m.edition Elia gave a word of warning to the delegates of the event: “You should not be here if you don’t have an m.edition, you should be in the office coding.”

He warned there is “not a lot of margin in mobile” but it should be central to any online strategy.

Elia warned of the importance of listening to your audience. “You don’t have to be first when it comes to apps,” he said and suggesting it was better to spend more time developing a better app.

Barnes had a different suggestion to those thinking of creating an app: “Write the press release on the launch of an app before you build it. You’ll often realise it’s a crapp (crap app),” he said.

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