Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Apps and Some Lessons we Have Learned

The big news today is the launch of the Apple Tablet yesterday. Gizmodo has a helpful summary of features.

We have also just released a new version of our generic iPhone App Exactly, which has an important improvement. It allows the user to sync the latest issue of her subscription to the phone. This makes the reading experience much more consistent and speedier, and of course it is then feasible to read the latest issue of the magazine on the plane or the subway, or anywhere else where you dont get an internet connection.

Publishers sometimes find it hard to believe that iPhone users enjoy reading books and magazines on their iPhones. The fact of the matter is that a lot of iPhone usage is primarily reading: email, web pages, blogs, books and magazines. It is also clear to us that the Apps from Exact Editions are being read, and subscriptions to them are being renewed. Reading in an App which is designed to take full advantage of the iPhone software and interface is a lot more fun than reading web pages or text through the Safari browser. We recently looked at the usage of one of our magazines from this point of view. About 2% of the December usage for this magazine was through iPhones. Of that iPhone usage, customers were 20 times more likely to be reading a given page through the generic App Exactly as through the Safari browser on the phone. Now that our Apps are sync-ing its going to be a lot harder to do this kind of analysis.

The second big lesson that we have learned this year, is that making the App free is clearly a winning strategy. Publishers need to figure out ways of offering a good smattering of their book or their magazine issue as a free offering through the App. Thereafter in-App purchasing looks after the business end of the proposition. Very few magazine publishers are yet offering their magazines through the iPhone interface. The iPad announcement is a wake-up call that they better!

No comments: