Friday, 28 May 2010

Why Our Mobile Viewers Are Browser Based

Why Our Mobile Viewers ("Web Apps") Are Browser Based.

There is a lot of discussion and trial in the publishing space around Apps and the value that Apps can bring to magazine publishers.  While we believe there is a lot of future value in bringing unique Native Apps to readers, we feel that delivering Apps via the Web (ie Browser based Mobile versions or "Web Apps")  make the MOST sense currently for publishers and readers alike.  Here is why --

Every Mobile Device with A Browser Has Immediate Access – No fussing or downloads required

A browser is preinstalled on each device, while a Native App is not. To get to the specific Native App you need to take several steps to find it.  First by going to the App store for the specific device, then Searching for the specific App (which may be tricky to find at all),  then you need to sign in to access your App account if you have one (else create a new account if you don’t), wait for the App to download, wait for install – and finally you can view!!  With our Web Apps (mobile versions), if a reader knows the URL of the main digital edition, the URL of the publication’s main website with a digital edition link, or has an email with a link, they can simply enter that and Presto – issue appears immediately for viewing!

At Advanced Publishing we use a single URL for all issues, so once you have it bookmarked, you have immediate access to all issues.  In addition, we typically use the Magazine’s own domain, so it is easy to remember even if you don’t bookmark it.  From the iPhone and iPad you can easily add a Homescreen Icon/Launcher to directly get to all of our digital issues but simply clicking on the "+" on the nav bar, and clicking the "Add to Homescreen" button.

The importance of Sharing and Links

Today’s Native Apps don’t allow for sharing content outside of readers who already have the App installed. Readers who don’t have the App, can’t be shared with – no easy way to take advantage of viral marketing from within an App.

Search Engine Visibility

Search engine visibility can be developed when your solution lives in the browser – not so with a Native App.  Anyone on any device (PC or mobile) with access to a search engine can easily access your digital edition magazine content – you can’t do that with a Native App!

App stores control access and customer relationships

With a Native App, you are subject to content policies and controls of the App Store owner, who may determine at any time that your App should be pulled.  In addition, when your readers buy or download an App, the App Store owner now owns the relationship to the reader, not the Publisher.  With Advanced Publishing’s mobile versions, access is managed via the same authentication that the PC version of the digital edition uses – so you control who gets access and the customer data that goes along with that.


Revenue Sharing – Each App store wants a piece of the action further fragmenting the potential business model for the publisher

Browser-based mobile viewers (Web Apps) are a better match across platforms

Developing Native Apps is a platform-specific game. They only work on specific devices using specific programming protocols and languages. Today, the map is relatively easy to develop for -- iPhone OS, Android OS, Web OS, Symbian and RIM OS. But other operating systems are on the way - with even more fragmentation to come -- which will add increasing complexity over time.

Browsers also come in different flavors. But the protocols, formats and web standards provide a mature framework to develop within making it relatively easy to keep on top of changes and upgraded versions.  In addition, the benefits of HTML5, which is just around the horizon, have great promise for even further standardization and rich capabilities that now require a browser plug in (ie Flash or Silverlight).


Limited Reader data via Native Apps Once a Native App is downloaded the connection to the reader is broken, therefore a publisher has no way of know how the reader interacted with the magazine – what did they read, what links were clicked, what video elements were viewed.  With Web Apps all reader activity, regardless of device is captured for the publisher to use for measurement in countless ways.

We are excited about the the pace of improvement in new wireless devices and the emerging power of smartphones.   At Advanced Publishing we work hard to evolve our solutions that allow our publishing customers focus on their expertise in creating and designing beautiful and compelling content, while we worry about getting that content in their readers hands in the most effective way!!

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