Author Archive

PressReader + iPad2 Contest Highlights from Kate

August 20, 2011 Leave a comment

Hi everyone,

As you know by now, our first “Win an iPad2” contest ended last month. First off, I’d like to send a HUGE CONGRATULATIONS to our winners from Facebook and Twitter. Enjoy those new iPad2s+PressReader!!!

We loved interacting with our fans throughout the contest, and we hope you had as much fun participating in the contest as we did. I’ve had an especially great time getting to know all you fans and followers throughout my short summer internship here at NewspaperDirect. Thank you for posting, tweeting, sharing, and getting the word out every day! Your poems, pictures, and constant creativity have made the contest so much fun!  In fact, we enjoyed your creative contributions so much, we decided to share the highlights with everyone. So, sit back, relax, and enjoy!

And don’t worry, this contest may be over, but our next contest is just around the corner. The PressDisplay folks are coming up with all kinds of challenges for you to solve, giving you multiple chances to win a new iPad2 + PressReader.

As for Kate the Intern, my summer schtick here has come to an end, and I have to say, I’m so sad to go! Thanks for keeping it fun and fresh all summer long, and I’m sure we’ll meet in the social media land again!



Who will win the tablet wars?

April 11, 2011 2 comments

Hey everyone,

Did you see the new forecast by Gartner? Analysts there are saying that the Apple iOS will dominate the media tablet market through 2015, owning more than half of it for the next 3 years.

Well, that’s certainly a bold statement given the fact that the Android tablets have hardly scratched the surface of retail store shelves.

According to Gartner,  “Google’s decision not to open up the Honeycomb, its first OS version dedicated to tablets, to third parties will prevent fragmentation, but it will also slow the price decline and ultimately cap market share at 39%.”

As for RIM, Carolina Milanesi, research vice president at Gartner said, ““It will take time and significant effort for RIM to attract developers and deliver a compelling ecosystem of applications and services around QNX to position it as a viable alternative to Apple or Android. This will limit RIM’s market share growth over the forecast period.  It will be mainly organizations that will be interested in RIM’s tablets because they either already have RIM’s infrastructure deployed or have stringent security requirements.”

It was only two months ago that Research firm IHS iSuppli estimated that by 2013, the iPad’s market share would decline to less than 50% of the overall market.

LOL!  Tablet wars haven’t really even started yet, but the analysts are already boxing it out in the numbers game.  I’m surprised that they are that far apart in their predictions, but I guess that makes good headlines.

At this point, I don’t think anyone really knows what will happen, but it certainly makes for interesting reading and gives me something to blog about 🙂

I’m curious…Who do you think will have the largest tablet market share in 2015?


Don’t let one bad Apple …

March 4, 2011 6 comments

…spoil the whole bunch (and your future).  The Apple Tax, while totally unjustified, isn’t worth losing sleep over.  In the big picture, it’s really no big deal.

Although the iPad led tablet sales in 2010 (easy when you’re the only game in town), Apple’s position at the top doesn’t mean very much (it’s an early adopter market), and it won’t last long.

Research firm IHS iSuppli estimates that by 2013, the iPad’s market share will decline to less than 50% of the overall market. And although I’m not an industry analyst, frankly I think that share will decline a lot faster than that.  Here’s why…

For 10 years, Apple dominated the portable mp3 player market because it had no challengers.   And yes, the iPhone had a lead time of 3 years without any real competition in smartphones, but when Android phones hit the shelves, the iPhone was displaced from the top in 6 months.

Less than a year ago, the “extraordinary” iPad was launched and already it is facing serious competition from exciting new Android, WebOS, BlackBerry and Win7 devices hitting the shelves.   These devices are open, have more functionality (USB, memory cards, Flash, …) and will be cheaper than the iPad.  The iPad will be “just another expensive iOS device” in the not-too-distant future.

Okay, so let’s look at today…

15 million iPads were sold in 2010 – no doubt a great market for Angry Birds and other apps of general global appeal.  But most newspapers have a local audience.  And locally, most of their readers aren’t carrying around an iPad.

(Sidebar: if publishers think they have a product that can compete in a global market, they should launch a start-up for it and not jeopardize their core business).

Bear with me while I walk you through my logic on why iPads aren’t worth worrying about…

Pew Research’s State of the News Media 2010 reports that 71% of internet users, or 53% of all American adults, get news online today.   Only 35% of online news consumers have a favorite site (i.e. they are avid readers). And according to PEW, one in five avid readers (20%) would be willing to pay for their  news online.

So let’s assume that 2/3 of the 15M iPads were sold in the USA.  That means across the total population of the USA, about 3.23% own an iPad.  From PEW Research, we know that 31% of the population reads news online, 35% of those are avid readers, and 20% of avid readers are willing to pay to read the news.  So that’s the audience we’re really interested in, right?

If I just look at daily newspapers in the States and not even consider the 5K+ weekly papers, you can see that on average a newspaper has maybe 100 or so subscribers who are willing to pay for their daily newspaper on an iPad.

You do the math – it’s a very very small audience.

Now I have every confidence that tablets will be a major platform for newspapers  and NewspaperDirect is committed to offering more support on those devices than anyone else.  In fact, ND is already working with a number of manufacturers on their new tablets.  And while I cannot disclose the details (I’d have to shoot you), I can say “Be prepared to be pleasantly surprised”.   Many of these competitive products are significantly better than the 1st gen iPads and, from what I’ve heard, the 2nd gen too.

So instead of panicking over the 30% tax, let’s just “bite back” and focus on that multi-platform strategy we discussed before.  Sure, Apple is known for great innovation and creating a outstanding user experience, but it’s running out steam quickly with the iPad.

Stay tuned next week for more on the next generation of devices and technology that will make you feel even more confident about the future of your newspaper.


Long live newspapers!

February 21, 2011 1 comment

With all the buzz about the Apple Tax hitting content providers, some people have asked me why would Steve Jobs care about the publishing industry anyway, “Aren’t newspapers dying?  I thought they were on the road to extinction.”


Did you know…

  • 77% of Canadian adults read the print or online edition of a paper at least once a week.
  • In the last year, shares in North America’s top 10 publicly traded newspapers have gained an average of 20.8%.

No wonder Mr. Jobs wants a 30% piece of the pie!

Now, not all publishers are fairing as well as those in Canada.  USA papers are still struggling along with some Europeans, but it’s more about the volatile economy than about newspapers themselves.  Take a look at this data from WAN-IFRA published in this month’s News & Tech magazine.  The booming economies in Southeast Asia and South America are fueling growth of newspapers in those territories.

And check out the story in the Toronto Star for even more interesting facts about what’s happening in Canada.  And then tell me if you think newspapers are dying OR just evolving into a much richer news source for junkies just like us.


Newspapers now bouncing back
Toronto Star
13 Feb 2011

Newspapers are proving so resilient that the term “dying newspaper industry” will be retired in the next year or two. Newspapers are still profitable, even in the midst of the most punishing ad drought in memory. Readership is at record levels, despite…read more…

NewspaperDirect Offers a Strategy to Publishers Wrestling with Apple Tax

February 16, 2011 17 comments

Only a year ago, Apple’s iPad was touted as a publisher’s dream: a portable device that delivered an intimate and immersive reading experience.  Today, Apple formally announced a 30 percent tax on all content sales via iTunes, requiring all publishers to provide in-app subscription plans that are the same (or better) than their subscription plans outside of the app.  On those subscription plans, Apple will take 30% off the top!

Right up front, let me assure everyone that NewspaperDirect is totally against this money grab from Apple and believes that publishers and subscribers should take the same position.  Here’s why:

1.  It is unjustifiable for a hardware device manufacturer to charge 30% on a transaction that costs them less than 5 percent to perform.

2.  It is inexcusable to force publishers to comply with a manufacturer’s tiered subscription levels under that manufacturer’s terms and conditions, not just on its own iOS devices, but on whatever platform the publisher supports under their subscription plan (e.g. Android or BlackBerry or even PCs).

3.  Apple’s personal data policy is completely self-serving, helping neither publishers nor their subscribers.

Offering opt-in choices for subscribers to share their personal data with publishers is fine for single copy sales, but when a user specifically subscribes to a publisher’s content, the publisher should have access to the personal data of “their” subscribers.  These are not Apple subscribers; these are the publisher’s subscribers.

In a world where personalization is becoming more and more important, publishers must be able to tailor content to the preferences of their subscribers. Under Apple’s policy, this will not be possible.

And what is even worse is that publishers will not be able to count these subscribers in their audited circulation.  Ridiculous!

“I’m very dismayed that Apple would make such an unpopular move at this time, given the abundance of high-quality alternate devices entering the market,” said Nikolay Malyarov, NewspaperDirect’s VP of publishing and legal affairs. “We’ve already seen how Android-based phones negatively impacted the iPhone market share; I expect nothing less from the open, full-featured Honeycomb-based tablets, BlackBerry and Win 7 devices coming soon.  People want a wide variety of choice when it comes to devices, and this move will likely compel content owners and publishers to rethink their tablet strategy.”

Publishers must act now to avoid lock-out from their subscribers

NewspaperDirect recommends that publishers immediately implement a viable cross-platform strategy and factor Apple’s 30 percent cut into content sold via the App Store:

1.  Cease all free promotions of the iPad in newspapers and on publishers’ websites. Instead, accord more attention to non-iOS devices in their publications. If Apple is choosing to exert control over their channels, publishers should focus on channels that are not subject to the whims of greedy hardware vendors.

2.  Develop free news apps for the Apple iOS, and use them to drive traffic to publishers’ websites where more reasonable options are available to subscribers on other platforms.

3.  Pursue a multi-platform approach that uses cross-platform technologies and create two subscription models on your website:

Subscription plan 1:  Offer content across all supported platforms except iOS devices at your normal subscription rate.

Subscription plan 2: Offer content across all supported platforms including iOS devices for 30% more than Subscription plan 1.

Marketing will be key in communicating to subscribers the added value they will receive through a subscription with publishers rather than through Apple — value such as subscription portability across devices and platforms, digital value packages, loyalty programs, etc.

Publishers who already have iOS apps in the App Store or have apps in development, will  need to update their subscription plans/tiers to comply with Apple’s new policies.  NewspaperDirect will take care of all the UI development to ensure your apps are fully compliant.

“Apple’s subscription model and user data policy for publishers is very short-sighted,” said Alex Kroogman, CEO of NewspaperDirect.  “With powerful, new web apps gaining popularity, and technologies like HTML5 which provide native-like functionality on tablets, publishers can now give their subscribers an excellent news app, directly in the web browser, and completely bypass Apple’s App Store.”

Apple has gone too far.  It’s time for publishers and subscribers around the world to stand up and fight this extortion.  Do your part – speak out now!


Categories: In The News, Industry Talk, iPad Tags: , ,

Steve Jobs…You can’t be serious!

January 25, 2011 18 comments

It is my distinct displeasure to share with you this week’s recipient of the  “You Can’t Be Serious Award”… iPad gatekeeper, Mr. Steven Jobs.

Last year, under the guise of offering us freedom (freedom from porn, flash, etc), Mr. Jobs became the iPad/iPhone dictator, decreeing what was appropriate for iPad/iPhone users and what was not.  I was rather surprised by his holier-than-thou declaration, “We do believe we have a moral responsibility to keep porn off the iPhone. Folks who want porn can buy an Android phone.” but didn’t pay it a lot mind back then.

But now Apple’s CEO has gone too far.  Apple is now rejecting newspaper applications it used to approve because Mr. Jobs wants a cut of every publisher’s business, citing “Apps utilizing a system other than the In App Purchase API (IAP) to purchase content, functionality, or services in an app will be rejected.”

This story in states pretty well what’s going on…

The nut of the matter is that newspapers or magazines will have to play by Apple’s strict rules – including a 30 percent revenue share – if they want to distribute newspapers via the Apple App Store. Apple also has strict rules about sharing with publishers, information about customers who download newsstand applications.

Apple has made it clear that it won’t approve any apps that try to by-pass Apple’s revenue cut. Newspapers and magazines won’t be able to have any kind of “pay wall” that doesn’t include 30 percent for Apple. Passwords, registrations and other sign-on devices will be barred by the App Store unless Apple gets its cut.

Mr. Jobs sure didn’t have any problem “using” newspapers to sell the iPad at launch time last year. Now he’s doing his best to destroy their business and double-charge their subscribers.

So, what does that mean to you the readers?

It means that you can’t get your newspaper on the iPad without paying Mr. Jobs directly.   Apple will only accept apps that use a 100% “in app purchase model” (i.e. Jobs will control all the money and all the users).  No longer will your publisher be able to offer you a great deal – like bundled print/digital subscriptions. If you’ve purchased your newspaper online (i.e. can read it in Safari on the iPad), you have to pay again for the right to read it as an App on the iPad.  Paying twice for the same content – how ridiculous is that!

What does that mean to publishers?

It means that you cannot run your business the way you want.  Mr. Jobs will charge you 30% for the pleasure of hosting all your valuable content on his servers.  You won’t even know who all your readers are – Mr. Jobs will own your customers and declare “freedom from data piracy” as the justification for stealing what should be rightfully yours.   No other device manufacturer out there tries to control user data.  What gives Apple the right?

It’s really very scary; Mr. Freedom Fighter is showing his megalomaniac stripes.  I guess it should come as no surprise after Apple announced it wanted to do its own newspaper app.  We should have seen it coming that Jobs would find a way to hold publishers hostage – it’s his way or the highway!

European publishers are already getting ready for a legal battle and I expect North America won’t be far behind.  Meanwhile, all we users can do is fight this injustice with our “Freedom of Choice”.  The iPad is a cool device, but the “cost” of “freedom” is too high.

Android is  looking better every day!


PressReader nominated for “Best App Ever” Award

January 20, 2011 Leave a comment

Hey PressReader fans!

Because of you and your efforts to spread the word about PressReader, it has been nominated for a BEST APP EVER award under Best Publication App!  Thank you so very much.

Now…all we have to do is VOTE for it and spread the message to all our colleagues, friends and family to do the same.  It’s easy – just click on the Vote button below!

Vote for
Best Publication App

Voting is open through January 25th, 2011. The winners will be announced at the 2011 Macworld Expo in San Francisco.

So please vote and spread the word!