Cross-Media Publishing News: Apple Newsstand, Tablets, and Time Spent

Cross-media publishing got a jolt this week with word of Apple’s verdict for Newsstand; plus, will one major Canadian newspaper go all-in on the tablet platform?

Perhaps it was inevitable, but the end of Apple Newsstand – long involved in a love-hate relationship with cross-media publishing – is still an occasion for reflection and wondering what lies ahead for digital magazines.

This is the kind of story the Nieman Lab was built for. Below, we look at its coverage on this topic and two others relevant to cross-device publishing.

Apple to Axe Newsstand, Launch New Service

Fascinating take from the Nieman Lab on one of Apple’s biggest announcements out of the Worldwide Developers Conference this week: the demise of the Apple Newsstand and the “News” rising from its ashes.

At the WWDC, Apple revealed its new app, News, which bears more than a passing resemblance to Flipboard but will quickly surpass that service in terms of reach. It will allow consumers to craft their own RSS-based feeds for content, with or without publisher branding. Publishers, meanwhile, must register their content for feed eligibility, and monetization is included through iAd.

“How big a deal is this? On one hand, small Apple moves – like, say, including the Podcasts app by default in iOS 8 – can sometimes lead to significant shifts in user behavior. On the other hand, people interested in news on phones likely already have habits they may be slow to change – Facebook people, Twitter people, Flipboard people, and so on. Still, it’s easy to imagine a more casual sort of news consumer being excited by the lovely layouts, cross-brand sourcing, and ease of use,” Joshua Benton writes.


“It’s another sign that 2015 really is the Year of Distributed Content. It’s not just social platforms like Facebook and Snapchat that are interested in taking in your content – it’s also the device platforms they themselves squat on. There’s no guarantee Apple News will be a big hit; Google Currents, probably the closest analog up to now, was a flop. But the broader narrative is clear: Individual news apps and individual news brands aren’t the primary point of contact with news any more. They’re raw material, feeding into broader platforms. The loss of power for publishers in that exchange is obvious; the potential benefits remain mostly undiscovered.”

Stay tuned.

La Presse‘s Angle on Tablet Publishing

Elsewhere on Nieman Lab, Ken Doctor analyzes Montreal newspaper La Presse‘s bid to revitalize tablet publishing and phase out its own print product with La Presse +. This is another highly recommended post for cross-media publishers.

“We want to be on any platform that allows us to provide engagement,” La Presse Executive Vice President Pierre-Elliott Levasseur told Doctor. “The faster we move people and revenue over to the new platform, the more we are going to be profitable.”

The Quartz Approach to Time Spent and “Spongeworthiness”

Benton comes back with another article – itself dynamic with its use of a back-channel Twitter discussion between the author and Quartz Vice President of Product and Executive Editor Zach Seward – on Quartz’s new “Read Full Story” button, a feature inspired by other publishers’ use of the option for readers to continue with a post or move on to other content, including alternative stories or ads. The aim is to increase either time spent with media on the mobile site or ad impressions metrics.

Curious about cross-media publishing? Download our free Multiplatform Publishing Strategy Handbook today for some fundamentals.

To read more about cross-media publishing and other industry trends, visit the Nieman Lab.


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