Tag Archives: iPad

Digital spurring on print advertising

I know I’m overstating the obvious, but marketing and publishing work best when an effective mix of digital and offline messages come together so that the reader/viewer will undertake a desired action and convert to a brand advocate or consumer.

In the publishing arena, the pressure is much more evident due to the progressive decline in advertising revenues. For the foreseeable future, publishers will continue to work on a set of solutions to counteract this spiral, as online revenue is yet to plug the hole of cutbacks on print spend.

The answer certainly lies within mobile media and marketing. The iPad, along with other tablets and some of the more powerful smartphones, are the perfect vehicles to bridge the gap, as they are usually within arm’s reach of someone reading a magazine or newspaper.

A new campaign by Lexus to promote their 2013 ES model is just such an example and certainly a step in the right direction of printed material generating an engaging digital experience. By using a technology called CinePrint, Lexus has created a digital experience that only works effectively when tied to a printed product. The technology can be tried in the October issue of Sports Illustrated.

It would be interesting to see if Lexus plan on rolling out the idea to more magazines that have an iPad edition and that are read by their target audience. I also reckon that the next step should be to globalise the campaign, as not all consumers have easy access to the printed Sports Illustrated.

Here is the YouTube preview of how it works:

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A spanner in the works of publishing and content

Setting a new level of high-definition, but at a cost for publishers and content creators.

The new iPad is proving to be another challenge in the constantly evolving world of digital publishing and content marketing.

Following up on yesterday’s post, new iPad owners were critical of the pixelation of the text and the photos contained in some of the editions that have not been optimised for the higher resolution of the market-leading tablet. Vogue were the first to address this by offering an optimised version of their latest issue, bumping up the file size from 280MB to 408MB.

Now for argument’s sake, if we take an increase of 30-50% in file size as the benchmark for all other publishers, it poses a serious problem for the overall effectiveness of the new iPad as a publishing tool, or indeed as a multimedia platform for displaying high-definition content in general.

Casting our gaze over the current panoply of high-definition offerings, we see that consumers can readily access it on their Full HD televisions and computers, as well as apparatus such as Blu-ray players or cable provider DVRs. We’re talking serious hardware, built for the pressures of large file sizes by using hard disc drives and optical cables for the streaming of HD content.

The fact of the matter is that contrary to the ever-improving memory capacity of desktop computers and DVRs, the iPad has had a maximum of 64GB of memory capacity for over 2 years, with many consumers opting for the more cost-effective smaller capacities. Subsequently, users have to constantly decide what apps to delete and install when new content comes along.

Can we consider the new iPad’s ‘resolutionary’ display a consumer gimmick, created more to impress than to be of actual functionality and service to a user? Quite likely! Would a larger memory capacity or USB ports have been a more pragmatic addition to the new iPad? Quite possibly. Will the increased file size needed to display content convince people to take out a subscription or make frequent purchases of hi-res copies of the magazine app? Quite unlikely! The trade-off of sacrificing more memory for the sake of a pin-sharp photo in a magazine just isn’t there.

Like the film, technology and entertainment industry that are growing on the back of signficant improvements in high-definition offering, publishers and content marketers in general will have to wait for a similar jump in iPad hardware specification to be able to take advantage of the screen the iPad has to offer consumers.

So until Apple increases the memory capacity of the iPad in line with the more generous offerings of ultrabooks or even the Macbook Air (which mostly feature flash memories between 128 and 256GB), it will always be a hard-sell for high-definition content to command consumer’s attention (and spend) when it comes to tablet devices.

Then again, there is always the 300dpi resolution of magazines printed on paper… Now there’s an idea for high-definition content!

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The new iPad comes with 46% less memory?!

The ‘resolutionary’ screen is clearly (no pun intended) the main selling point in the new iPad. Contrary to common-sense, I feel this new resolution is a curse to all those early adopters that are already swiping away at their new iPads (after having wiped the drool off the screen).

Today, Mashable highlights the fact that ‘magazines look terrible on the new iPad′s high-resolution display’. The current exception seems to be Vogue, which had already optimised its edition to take full advantage of the retina display in the apple of Apple’s eye. However, this came at a ‘price’, as this edition now occupies 408MB of the iPad’s flash memory, up from the 280MB needed for the other iPad versions.

This means that we are getting the same content as before (albeit at an eye-candy level of clarity), but at the cost of sacrificing an additional 46% of the flash memory of our device. Why then would you buy the new iPad if you are limited to a maximum storage of 64GB? How many optimised applications, games or magazines will you be able to fit in your new tablet? Would Steve Jobs have gone ahead with a new product knowing that it is not the best it can be, by matching a bump up in screen resolution with proportionate amount of adequate memory storage? Is it really fair to assume that each time you double your iPad’s capacity, the real cost of the flash memory costs goes up by £80 each time?

The half-promise of a content El Dorado

These questions have obviously not stopped this new toy from becoming a wildly popular cash-cow for Cupertino’s consumer darlings. Yet in bowing to the pressures of having to lead the tablet market, Apple is selling a product that half fulfils a promise. Consumers have bought a ticket to the El Dorado, but they’ve been made to wait at the outskirts of the city, despite being able to see the bright lights and excitement it has to offer. And they’re having to put up with a lot of heat to be able to be there.

Yes you can already see high-definition content on your new iPad, but you can’t store it for long if you want your next fix of new content. Yes, your new games and applications can be ‘resolutionary’-ready, but you’ll have to get rid of other apps, photos or videos to be able to keep using or playing them. Yes, you can keep your ‘un-optimised’ content, but it will look underwhelming on your fantastic screen.

The curse of the new iPad is its greatest asset. To experience the true benefits of this display, consumers will have to wait until the flash memory on the iPad matches those of ultrabooks or the Macbook Air. This may not be too far down the line, since Toshiba already features high capacities at the top-end of their Solid State Drive product family. Only when we have NAND flash memories upwards of 128GB will the iPad finally fulfill its potential of a post-PC device. By then, though, we will already be talking about the new ‘new iPad’, and I suspect it will take at least another year to get there.

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Digital Publishing and its many guises

apple iPad

After two days of near continuous bombardment of new tendencies, a cornucopia of packed and insightful seminars and keynote speeches, (the usual) overpriced bites to eat, and “market-leading-solution-we-are-the-answer-to-all-your-problems” sales speak, I am just about to start browsing the piles of magazines and literature that I’ve amassed from the Publishing Expo as well as the TFM&A.

Having spent Tuesday and Wednesday at Earl’s Court 2 (an improvement on the slightly run-down Olympia from past years), I would like to just summarise a bit of the whirlwind of developments that the content marketing and digital publishing industry are having to take in.

Before I go into more detail, there are two glaring points about the Publishing Expo I would like to make:

1. Adobe was indeed the overall event sponsor, but I was surprised to see they were not exhibiting. Is this a sign they are getting comfortable with the lead their publishing suite, including Adobe DPS, has over the competition?

2. The iPad was the reigning tablet to showcase mobile publishing and marketing solutions. Not a single Android tablet to be seen, even in the cases of developers having solutions or working towards versions of apps for this platform.

And now on with the show…

What’s your flavour?

If the explosion of apps wasn’t concern enough for a professional trying to get their brand, creation or deliverable out there to the time-hungry and fickle world of consumers and punters, we now have the benefit (and perhaps headache) of having multiple routes we can go down in the quest for the publishing and marketing ‘silver bullet’.

The exhibitors at the show cater to different budgets and objectives, most of them squarely aimed at the tablet publishing market. Some are effective and simple (or reductive, depending on your view of things);  others have a cornucopia of bells and whistles to choose from: Mag+, Readz, Dennis Publishing, Zinio, Yudu, Pressrun, Pagesuite, eMagCreator, Magazine Cloner, are examples of the different approaches used.

If I were to add to the mix the suppliers that I have come across in past exhibitions, case study presentations or on projects I have worked on, the list goes on: eDition, Onswipe,  Issuu, Flipping Book, and numerous other big and small operators. In the case of Readz and Onswipe, for example, we’re not even talking about an iOS or Android app, per se, as these are nascent examples of web-based or web-optimised content browsing solutions, that are becoming a valid alternative to your ‘traditional’ platform-based application solutions.

Brave New World

All of the above-mentioned suppliers are clambering for their share of the ever-evolving and increasingly inter-woven market of ‘grabbing people’s attention and making them do something after seeing your message’. The result is that most brands, agencies or publishers can no longer lounge in the luxury of being a platform or iPad-only specialist.

For all of us with any kind of history in the communication, media, publishing or marketing industry, we are riding the tidal waves caused by the speed of change in the last few years. We are coming to realise that survival lies with a varied mix of multi-platform, integrated, attractive, informative, engaging, entertaining and easy to navigate information and content. And if we can have that with some magic pixie dust in the form of viral content, social media buzz or mass-market news exposure, then we’re one step closer to marketing zen, publishing nirvana or brand heaven.

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