The BBC is developing an app that will allow its reporters in the field to file video, stills and audio directly into the BBC system from an iPhone or iPad. The software is being adapted for the Apple phones from an existing app used by the BBC and is due to be in use within around a month. As part of a new strategy which will see the broadcaster focus on getting the most out of smartphone technology, it is also aiming to obtain iPhone licenses for existing app Luci Live, allowing reporters to broadcast live from the phone using 3G signal. Martin Turner, head of operations for newsgathering, said developing the software for iPhone was “a logical extension of what the BBC can do already” but added that it was a “significant development”. “Reporters have been using smart phones for a while now but it was never good quality. Now it is beginning to be a realistic possibility to use iPhones and other devices for live reporting, and in the end if you’ve got someone on the scene then you want to be able to use them.” He added that the development was part of a wider strategy at the broadcaster to make better use of smartphones in its field reporting.
The growing popularity of smartphones is proving a double-edged sword for newspaper publishers, with the number of consumers reading more content online almost exactly counterbalanced by a decline in those buying print products, according to a report from Orange. The telecoms company’s study found that 14 percent of people who access the internet on their mobile phones said they read fewer newspapers as a result. On the flipside, 13 percent of respondents said that owning smartphones such as the iPhone had led them to read more newspaper content online. However, the same is not true of all publishing sectors with 16 percent of mobile media users – those accessing the internet via a smartphone – saying they read fewer magazines, but none saying they read more magazine content online. The problem for newspaper publishers is the gap between declining print circulation and revenue and the relatively small revenues from products such as smartphone apps and mobile internet advertising. The Interactive Advertising Bureau puts the UK mobile internet ad market at just under GBP 40m in 2009. Orange’s report points to the potential of mobile commerce, in which it includes the purchasing of apps, but does not provide any insight into revenue generation
Ping – Apple’s new social media network, will allow users to follow friends’ music interests working in a stream of updates similar way to Facebook or Twitter Having cornered the MP3 player, mobile phone and computer tablet markets with the iPod, iPhone and iPad devices respectively, last night Apple announced its latest expansion – into social media – with Ping. Ping will be integrated into Apple’s latest iTunes software update and will enable users, or “Pingers”, to follow musicians, friends and others to see details including what music they’re buying and what concerts they’re attending. Steve Jobs, Apple’s chairman and chief executive, said the information will arrive in a long stream of updates, similar to the way Facebook and Twitter work. “Be as private or as public as you want. The privacy is super-easy to set up,” he said adding that users can choose to automatically accept followers or decide on a follower-by-follower basis – similar sounding controls to those on Twitter. The service is available immediately to more than 160 million iTunes users, Jobs said, and will also be available across the iPhone and iPod Touch ranges.
Though they are often cast as distinct business models, advertising and paid content are not necessarily mutually exclusive – or are they?
Observations from Times Newspapers’ digital properties point to two different answers…
In one, The Times is now selling full-page display campaigns in to its iPad app, for which readers pay £9.99 per month. Campaigns spotted by paidContent:UK are for IBM and Lloyds TSB, occupying four pages each in Monday’s third edition. Each includes a video overlay containing the companies’ existing TV ads.
The Financial Times had made its iPad edition free for two initial months thanks to a big headline sponsorship from watchmaker Hublot, but The Times is using iPad to combine both payments and ads, as newspapers do.
Times Newspapers had gone in to its new paid website strategy saying it would continue running ads on the Times and Sunday Times websites despite introducing reader charging. Indeed, its commercial team has promised advertisers “large impactful formats”….
But, in fact, what’s happened is the number of ads has reduced dramatically from when Times Online was freely available. Apart from spots for Virgin Media (NSDQ: in Sport and Tavarnello wine in Style, display slots in key website sections are so far mostly occupied by promotions for Times services themselves.
In their place, one thing that is clicking increasingly is a new spin on an old kind of sponsorship – paid editorial…
The Times and Sunday Times sites are running a series of sponsored features and site-lets for Accenture, Courvoisier, Alfa Romeo, Chevrolet and ICIS, each apparently the online extension of a recent paid supplement…
But (and this is interesting) these advertorials are not behind the paywall. The Chevrolet campaign, for an outdoorsy new 4×4, even exists on an external domain name from the main Times site altogether, CoolGlamping.co.uk. Meanwhile, the Accenture campaign is actually for a Business news section called Need To Know, which, despite being presented in navigation as content, is also outside the wall.
One theory about The Times’ recent strategic shift is that the whittling down of its audience to a handful of paying customers would default advertisers’ addressable market to a self-selected group of wealthier readers, with a higher inclination to buy stuff. A contrary theory had been that, actually, advertisers just want scale and would hate losing mass appeal…
Whatever; why would advertisers want to restrict viewing of their ads only to paying readers?
The reduction of conventional web display ads from the Times Online days may suggest advertiser concern at the smaller audience – but it may also be possible for The Times to make some of it up with big-hitting sponsorships from premium brands, and by jumping aboard the nascent iPad advertising rush.
French hotel chain Sofitel will now offer the daily press to its guests through an iPad application, “in a move that could mean a fresh start for the dwindling tradition of the morning newspaper in hotels,” The Independent revealed today. The newspaper service, called “The Kiosk,” provides a selection of six publications per country. For now, there will be media from France, the United Kingdom, Germany, Spain, Italy and the United States, the company announced in a press release. Some of dailies included by Sofitel are Le Monde, The Wall Street Journal, El Pais, The Financial Times, Die Welt and La Repubblica. According to The Independent, the service is only available for those “staying in the top end suites in Paris, London, Munich and Brussels,” where each guest is provided with an iPad. The French chain, which plans to expand The Kiosk to all of its locations, explained that the new service is both “environmentally friendly” and convenient for the guests.
Flipboard, a start-up that is unveiling its iPad app on Wednesday, builds a personalized magazine full of updates, photos and articles shared by a reader’s friends or by people they choose to follow on Twitter and Facebook. Soon it plans to incorporate material from other sources, such as Flickr, Foursquare, Yelp and perhaps e-mail messages and attachments. “It’s something print figured out years ago, how to visually declutter,” said Mike McCue, chief executive of Flipboard who founded the company with Evan Doll, a former iPhone engineer at Apple. When people visit Facebook or Twitter today, they see a long list of status updates, often with shortened links on Twitter or a thumbnail photograph on Facebook. Twitter in particular has never been especially aesthetically pleasing and its founders have spoken about the need to make it more accessible and easy to navigate. Flipboard arranges status update so they look like pull quotes and it prominently displays photographs. Instead of a link to an article, Flipboard shows its first few paragraphs. People can comment, just like they can on the social network, and if they want to dig deeper into an article or a user’s account, they connect to that Web page. Eventually, Flipboard will also have advertisements that are reminiscent of print, Mr. McCue said. Flipboard also plans to make money by offering certain content in exchange for micropayments or subscriptions and sharing the revenue with the publisher. Flipboard also announced Wednesday that it has raised USD 10.5m from investors.
The Wall Street Journal is to launch a new European technology section as part of its digital expansion. Six new jobs have been advertised by publisher Dow Jones as it prepares to enlarge its online and mobile offering and build up commercial opportunities. Europe.wsj.com launched in February 2009 and since then has seen good growth in terms of traffic, its editor Neil McIntosh said. The journal is well known in the states for its technology coverage and the WSJ wanted to offer more in Europe, McIntosh said. The new section is expected to cover technology business activity in Europe, startups and entrepreneurs, and gadget and service launches. The new section will incorporate US content, as well as its own regional output. The new section will be a mix of news and commentary, as seen in existing sections that include “straightforward top quality reporting” supported by analysis on Heard on the Street and other blogs. WSJ Europe currently offers an iPhone app and a mobile web edition, with an iPad app on the way.”