Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Content-Driven Apps: New Insights for Publishers

[excerpts from "Beyond the Magazine Replica: Publishers Explore New Types of Content-Driven Apps" at]

Publishers are evolving their app strategies beyond basic magazine replicas, experimenting with a variety of new formats and products that have the potential to create new mobile revenue streams.

The apps cut across a broad spectrum of features and content offerings but generally fall into one of three categories: utility app, special issue or content feed. Interviews and other commentary from a variety of consumer publishers – including Consumers Union, New York magazine, Hearst and Meredith – offer some insights into how publishers’ mobile app strategies are extending beyond print content.

Filling the idea pipeline

Most publishers will readily acknowledge that they are still in the very early stages of determining what type of content best lends itself to an app experience. One thing they quickly figured out: Smartphones offer a much different user experience than larger-screen tablet devices. Smartphones are very much utility-driven, with users often looking for specific information to help them complete an activity. Early research on tablets points to a lean-back reading experience that equates more with traditional magazine reading than with the task-driven Web. [...]

A dose of consumer research

Publishers are also pairing editors’ suggestions with consumer research to ensure that a legitimate target audience awaits a new app.

“We did a lot of user segmentation and mapping to determine women’s passion points and their perceptions of relevance and value,” said Lauren Wiener, senior VP of interactive at Meredith. “We have been taking this information to our editors to power product development.” [...]

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