Hearst Corporation Announces Opening of The App Lab, a Mobile Media Development Center in Hearst Tower
(Press Release) NEW YORK, NY, Jun 9, 2011—Hearst Corporation today announced the opening of The App Lab at Hearst Tower in New York City. A state-of-the-art media lab and interactive learning center, The App Lab will showcase the Corporation's digital content across all tablet and smartphone device platforms. It will also serve as a think tank where innovators within Hearst and across the media and technology industries can meet to discuss and develop the smartest branded content, ad models and platforms for mobile devices. Expert roundtables, as well as consumer insight panels, will be hosted in The App Lab as part of its ongoing educational and leadership programming. The App Lab will be unveiled today as part of Internet Week New York, for which Hearst is a media partner.
"As consumer usage of mobile devices and related applications continues to explode, The App Lab marks an exciting new era of digital innovation at Hearst," said Frank A. Bennack, Jr., CEO of Hearst Corporation. "This places Hearst at the forefront of emerging technologies within the media industry and gives us a physical space where we can work with our marketing partners to collaborate about the future of tablet/mobile media in a sophisticated way."
To date, Hearst Magazines has published nearly 100 unique apps and digital editions across multiple platforms including Apple iOS, Google Android, Barnes & Noble Nook Color and the Zinio Newsstand. Hearst's entire portfolio of magazines is featured on both the B&N and Zinio platforms, which can be accessed on multiple devices. The App Lab team, headed by Chris Wilkes, Hearst Magazines' vice president of digital editions, magazines & apps, has been aggressively experimenting with a variety of approaches and continues to be a leader in rolling out magazine brand-related apps. They expect to launch over a dozen additional apps for these and other new platforms throughout 2011.
On the newspaper front, Hearst is launching paid and free apps on the major tablets this year -- including the critically acclaimed San Francisco Chronicle app for the iPad that debuted May 31 -- as well as enhanced versions of popular smartphone apps. And across the Corporation, Hearst divisions including iCrossing, Entertainment & Syndication, Business Media and Interactive Media will use The App Lab for internal development projects and customer-focused collaboration related to the smartphone and tablet worlds.
"The App Lab will be a centralized hub where Hearst's creative teams can work with our publishers and outside partners to create intelligent, engaging digital content that will uniquely showcase both our magazine brands and the most popular consumer brands in the marketplace," said David Carey, president of Hearst Magazines. "We look forward to welcoming our marketing partners into The App Lab to begin exploring new opportunities for advancing unique advertising platforms."
Located on the 41st floor of Hearst Tower, the App Lab was designed in collaboration with And Partners, a New York-based strategic design firm. The centerpiece of the Lab is a large-scale digital video wall with multi-touch capability, which enables digital whiteboarding (SMART Technologies) and showcases the entire Hearst digital publishing ecosystem, including the simulation of all apps. Hardware from all leading tablet and smartphone device manufacturers is integrated into the Lab. App Lab users can wirelessly file share using the Lab's dedicated drop box.
The Hearst App Lab will extend beyond its physical walls by creating an open-source model for innovation across Hearst divisions to learn about, participate in, and collaborate on digital publishing projects. The opening of the Lab is the latest phase of Hearst's App Lab initiative, which began last fall with Tuesdays @the Tower, a series of breakfast panels about the tablet space held for advertisers, followed by the formation of the App Lab team, a group of 44 in-house developers, producers, editors, designers, project managers and marketers working across all of Hearst's many apps and digital editions.
"As the app landscape expands rapidly, we're pioneering new ways to engage readers digitally with our brands," added Hearst Magazines' Wilkes. "From enhanced presentations of our magazines that are re-imagined specifically for iPads and other tablets to complimentary utilities and games, we are covering a lot of ground. The App Lab space now lets us develop, display and collaborate more effectively and offers a distinctive experience that is of tremendous business value to Hearst."
Avi Zimak, advertising director, tablet media for Hearst Magazines, will oversee all sales and marketing activities for The App Lab tied to magazines, and serve as the liaison between the advertising community and the mobile and tablet versions of those brands.
About Hearst Corporation
Hearst Corporation is one of the nation's largest diversified media companies. Its major interests include ownership of 15 daily and 38 weekly newspapers, including the Houston Chronicle, San Francisco Chronicle, San Antonio Express-News and Albany Times Union; hundreds of magazines around the world, including Good Housekeeping, Cosmopolitan, ELLE and O, The Oprah Magazine; 29 television stations, which reach a combined 18% of U.S. viewers; ownership in leading cable networks, including Lifetime, A&E, History and ESPN; as well as business publishing, including a minority joint venture interest in Fitch Ratings; Internet and marketing services businesses, television production, newspaper features distribution and real estate.