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:
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”.
Rusbridger covers experimentation in the newsroom, Guardian journalists use of social media, collaborative journalism and – the elephant in the room – money and funding for journalism.
Being an economic realist I think it is likely that we’re going to have to operate with a smaller staff in the future because the money is not going to be there in the medium to long term. I think what I’m describing is economic realism too because if you an get over this hurdle where we have to produce all the content and we are the only people who are the authorities and the experts and other people can go along with us on this journey, you’re harnessing a lot of people who’s primary motivation might not be money…
I think we underestimate in journalism the value of publishing and having a voice. If you don’t understand that then you miss one of the most profound things about the web and the social web.
“We’re not opposed to charging for anything,” he later says, making particular reference to apps and the Guardian’s revenue of £40 million last year from digital products.