Before the internet made it easier for advertisers to become publishers, they were already growing tired of the limitations (and inflated price) of traditional display advertising. In the magazine industry one of the big growth areas of the past 20 years was client publishing: helping – to varying degrees – companies create magazines which were then given or sold to customers, staff, members, or anyone interested in their field.
While the execution varies, the idea behind it is consistent: this is no longer about selling content, or audiences, but expertise – and quite often expertise in distribution as much as in content production. Continue reading →
A few months ago I was asked what sort of mobile phone I would recommend for a journalism student. Knowing how tight student budgets are, and that any choice should have as much of an eye on the future as on the present, I recommended getting an Android phone.
The reasoning went like this: iPhones are great at certain things, and currently benefit from a wider range of applications than other mobile phones. But the contracts are expensive, the battery life poor, and Apple’s closed system problematic, for reasons I’ll expand on in a moment. Continue reading →
I spent a bit of time talking about the Times paywall today for both BBC News 24 and their 6 o’clock news programme (on iPlayer here). One particular aspect which didn’t make the final cut concerned how paywalls challenge the commercial decisions behind the traditional news mix, so I’ve recorded it below.
The bit of spectacular video above is doing the rounds as I type – a mock-up/demo of how a “motion magazine cover” might work on an iPad.
It’s lovely. But pointless.
What does it prove? It proves that magazines could do spectacular things with the iPad. It is, essentially, an advert masquerading as a magazine cover.
But then, magazine covers have always been adverts for their contents – and it’s a curiously old-media approach to focus so much energy on the front cover when, online, the majority of users typically never touch your homepage (will the iPad change that? I’m sceptical).
In fact, I wonder if a user on the bus would grow impatient with such an overblown introduction to their magazine.
It reminds me of those Flash-heavy ‘splash pages‘ that websites used to employ to impress users – but which ultimately ended up frustrating them.
So it’s lovely, but it doesn’t solve any fundamental problems publishing faces right now. The iPad ain’t no silver bullet: the old problems haven’t gone away – an oversupply of information, oversupply of ad space, and a proliferation of alternatives to spend our entertainment budget on.
If anything, the iPad is a silver bullet to the head: with Apple keeping hold of user data, and insisting on the lion’s share of cover sale revenue, publishers are not going to be queueing up to join their gated paradise.
The iPhone is overrated. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Yes, it’s got great usability, but for a journalist it just doesn’t compete. And here are 10 reasons why:
A crappy camera. 2 megapixels is terrible – the N95 has 5. Not to mention auto-focus, flash, etc. etc.
No video camera. Inexcusable in the YouTube age. Yes there are workarounds but…
You have to jailbreak the iPhone to use streaming services like Qik. Installing Qik (or Bambuser, or Shozu) on the N95 is pretty straightforward. The fact you have to jailbreak the iPhone at all says a lot about Apple’s attitude. Nokia’s Symbian operating system is open (if not open source yet).
You can’t save webpages. Once again, you can on the N95.
No alternative browser. Opera Mini is great on the N95.
Battery power. You can at least have a spare battery for the N95.
No recording of audio. You can on an N95, and email it to Posterous for instant podcast.
Walled garden for apps. Apps on the N95? Get them anywhere, without the worry that Nokia will lock them out in the future.
Fiddly keyboard. Particularly difficult when there are…
No external keyboards. You can buy a number of cute bluetooth keyboards for the N95 which make it possible to type updates and blog posts very quickly.
And that’s not to mention bloody expensive. If you know of any solutions to these weaknesses, let me know. You see, I do have an iPod Touch…