iPad before print

Hearst Magazines, publishers of titles such as Elle, Esquire, O Magazine, Popular Mechanics and many more have made a fascinating change to their distribution strategy. They are now offering their titles on their respective iOS apps before they are seen in print. Obviously the delay in printing makes this possible but it’s clearly a move to get people to use the iPad versions of their magazines. The economics of this situation make it the most interesting bearing in mind you’re giving 30% of your revenue to Apple as part of the usual revenue split. Also, bearing in mind that digital mags are cheaper than their print counterparts the mind boggles at the costs of printing and distribution for regular magazines.

According to All Things D:

Looking for a reason to buy an iPad edition of a magazine? Hearst hopes this will do the trick: Readers who buy the publishers’ titles from Apple’s Newsstand will get them before anyone else — on or offline.

This feature appears to have popped up today, and there doesn’t seem to be any other details about the offer, like the number of days in advance that Newsstand buyers will get their iPad editions. I’ve asked Hearst for more information.

The length of Newsstand buyers’ headstart “varies”, depending on publication, and that the offer applies to single copy sales as well as subs. As far as the deal’s origins: “Apple suggested this initiative, and it’s a great offer they can provide to their newsstand users. We’re always working with our retail partners on unique ways to drive consumer sale and engagement.”

Right now, Hearst is the only publisher offering the option, for 22 of its titles. An Apple rep says it will be happy to let other publishers try the same thing.

The general consensus: Tablet editions are a nice revenue stream that in some cases brings publishers new readers, and in others helps them hang onto existing print subscribers, via online/offline bundles. But they’re not enough to save many publishers from the decline of their print businesses — a reality that Time Inc. staffers are bracing for as they get ready for long-reported and significant layoffs.

Print is going to be a niche, secondary medium soon.

Source (All Things D, Engadget)


The magic of hyperlapse

You’ve probably heard of the concept of the timelapse: You place a camera in a set location and get it to take photos at a set interval for a few hours or even days. You then take each picture and make a movie, 24 pictures per second (for a full 24fps) to create a movie of the images. Hyperlapse videos take the concept a whole step further: instead of just taking pictures from a static spot you also move the camera to create what feels like a hyper-real moving picture. It’s quite surreal:

Here’s another of Berlin:

The actual process is highly complex and time consuming but if you have the time then take a look at this tutorial on the website Rok.on. The first steps include:

  • Before the Hyperlapse: Preparatory work may be necessary before shooting. Envision or know where your hyperlapse will end to ensure proper final framing. Last thing you want to do is go through all the hard work only to get crappy framing near the end.

  • Find a flat surface: Hyperlapse on a flat surface, otherwise your hyperlapse will appear extremely jittery. Its possible to do it on ununiformed surfaces, but it will be a hastle & shaky, especially if you are using a tripod.

  • Shoot more than you need: Start further away than you think, and up further away than you think. At 24 FPS or more, you will end up with alot shorter video than you think.

  • Marking your pathway: Its not terribly essential. In fact it will not always be possible, especially in public places or touristy areas. I use water soluble chalk and measuring tape to mark the path that my tripod will follow. This ensures consistent movement in my hyperlapses. Otherwise the tripod may fall too long or too short, similating changes in speed. Ex – Video appears to speed up/slow down.

You’ll create some amazing imagery and win Internet fame, what else does one really need?

PS: There is no embed for this video but it’s amazing.


The business of Business Insider

One of my favourite websites, Business Insider just posted a great expose into how they went from a tiny company of three people and about 2100 views on day one to one hundred staff members and 1 million views per day.

The logic is simple, as editor Henry Blodget puts it:  “Great content drives everything.” There are no silver bullet marketing tools, and no single storytelling tools that will grow and sustain your publication. Instead it’s an all-in approach tailored to your brand and your readers that will ensure your company remains viable moving into to a future that Blodget sees digital dominating. And above all, it’s about distributing quality content.

Some key findings from the presentation:

  • The site runs on a simple theory: “Different medium, different journalism”. They’re not trying to put together the same content as the Wall Street Journal, digital requires smaller pieces of content with different storytelling, distribution and business model.
  • Digital is different to print or TV in four ways: Content, Analytics, Distribution and Cost Structure.
  • Content is different to traditional mediums as it combines text, video and audio in a conversational manner with an emphasis on visuals. Blodget also stresses that articles such as live blogs, photo essays and what he calls “charticles” (and article made exclusively of charts) are a great style of digital content.
  • “If you don’t have great stories, you don’t have squat”
  • In terms of distribution don’t pigeonhole users to one type of device, they want to read on every device they own. Don’t be mobile first, digital is multi-screen.
  • Traffic comes from a mix of direct, social and search.
  • Analytics helps to serve readers better and help the writers learn.
  • Digital cannot support print economics but digital can support digital economics!
  • Digital works

Whether you can directly apply these learnings to South Africa is debatable but importantly digital is the future and someone is going to have to crack it in South Africa sooner or later.

Read the full article and slides here