Digital Publishing Predictions (Wishes?) for 2012
The new year is upon us, so you know what brings; a list of new resolutions that go unfulfilled, a gym membership that won't be used beyond February and a list of predictions for the next 12 months. Luckily, digital publishing isn't a topic that is beaten to death, so perhaps this list will provide some insight and thought for what the future of our industry may behold in 2012.
A new software will be offered to publishers, which includes HTML5 as an intuitive tool that does not require coding to use. This will enable developers of digital magazines to create interactive elements that are as dynamic as those created with flash and greatly raise the bar on what we are presenting to our readers. Bye bye, glorified pdfs.
Mirroring via the iPad will go beyond the current video capabilities and expand to the ability to mirror an entire app. Imagine if instead of simply navigating a digital magazine on your 8 1/2" by 11" iPad screen, you could interact with it on your 55" flat screen TV (OLED?) or Apple TV? Photography would look awesome on the screen, stories would be much easier to read and interactive elements would appear even more dynamic.
Someone will catch on that touch-enabled tablet computers shouldn't be made smaller than the iPad but larger. While many manufacturers were wasting their time making 7" tablets to complete with the iPad, they missed the chance to create something that was larger than the iPad and by virtue offer something more than Apple. How about doubling the iPad size, or tabletop touch computers? Touch enabled personal computers are upon us and we can enjoy that function on our large iMac screen, but that hasn't yet come to oversized tablets.
The year 2012 will be the tipping point for digital magazines as 2011 was for e-books. Three factors will be responsible for this rapid development. One is the expectation of more than 50 million+ tablets to sell in 2012. Another is that users will have a full 12 months to benefit from the newsstand feature in the App Store that isolates magazines among themselves, like iBooks. The last one is the unexpected popularity of the Amazon Kindle Fire, which has emerged as the only real competitor to the iPad. Its adoption will sustain and intensify if Amazon does in fact produce another Kindle Fire that matches or exceeds the size of the iPad.
An anticipated increase in digital magazine readership for leading titles will finally reach an attractive scale, convincing media buyers and brands to finally make serious investments into advertising on this platform. There will still be a lot of room for growth in future years, but we may eventually look back at 2012 as the year this segment of the digital publishing business model took hold.
The first independent iPad only publisher will emerge as an up and coming player in the industry. It happened with the Internet where upstarts like Drudge Report, Huffington Post and Gawker Media, among many others, made names for themselves and innovated the industry. The same will eventually happen with digital magazines and the role independent publishers play in advancing and innovating this segment of the industry.
We will be able to open an app within another app. This capability would be huge for advertising. Numerous companies have already developed their own branded app. How appealing would it be if an ad within a digital magazine could link to, and open, a sleek, high-quality branded app within the magazine? That would not only be appealing to readers, but also the brands who would get a much greater return on their app development investment.
Time will tell if any of these predictions come true. How about you? What do you think will happen with digital publishing in 2012?