AppWatch: A Look at What Publishers Are Launching in the Mobile Space
Finally—an App's App!
App: Wired App Guide
Produced by: Wired magazine/Condé Nast and Gizmodo
Details & Features:
No question, the app marketplace is getting crowded—and fast. Seizing an opportunity to help consumers sort through the clutter and find useful apps and reviews, as well as "the hottest apps in the App Store," Wired magazine collaborated with tech site Gizmodo on the launch of the Wired App Guide—first in a print version sold on newsstands for $10.99, and then as an iPad app available in the App Store for $5.99.
"Our experts braved the app stores to search, download, test, crash, complain and update," says a statement from Wired in the iTunes App Store. "Organized into seven categories—[e.g., social, games, lifestyle, news, etc.]—these are the apps worth knowing about."
Designed for the iPad, the app enables users to make purchases directly from the iTunes App Store.
Tip: Partnering on developing an app may be helpful as far as sharing resources and investment. After all, two heads are better than one, right?
Farmers: "It's Raining on My Field"
Produced by: Farm Journal Media
Details & Features:
Farm Journal Media (FJM) recently launched its free AgWeb app, based on the success of AgWeb.com, its website providing "market information, agriculture news and online tools and databases," said Greg Vincent, AgWeb editor, in a press release announcing the launch. "The new mobile app will help keep growers connected to AgWeb from their mobile phones or tablets, even when they are in the field or on the road."
Among the app's key features is a weather section, where users can obtain local wind and weather forecasts and updates, among other information. According to the press release, "The weather radar can also … show weather activity down to the road level, allowing farmers to see if they are getting rain on a particular field." This feature exemplifies the appeal of apps that offer targeted information end users can use regularly.
The app also provides access to the AgWeb markets section, which provides quotes and charts for the agricultural commodities, livestock, financial and metal markets. The new app is free, and available through the iTunes and Android app stores.
Tip: "The first and most obvious app for all media companies to build delivers their existing content within an app format. An RSS-reader-type app can be built simply and inexpensively on top of any number of existing platforms, and customized to create a rich user experience," says Mitch Rouda, senior vice president of e-media for FJM. "That app is likely to generate more page views than a mobile site, and creates a gateway for reaching smartphone audiences. Other apps—and some of the best and most important ones—do specific things with tools and reference databases, but they are harder and more expensive to create and promote, and should probably be thought of as 'gen 2.'"
A Mobile, Mobile App: Cool, But Don't App and Drive
App: Truck Trend
Produced by: Source Interlink Media/MediaWorks
Price: Free, supported by advertising sponsor
Details & Features:
Motor Trend's Truck Trend, focused on trucks and sport utility vehicles, recently announced its new Truck Trend app, developed by parent company Source Interlink Media's (SIM) in-house agency MediaWorks. The app is available for free in the iTunes Store and Android Marketplace.
According to the press release announcing the launch, "The app delivers up-to-date vehicle reviews, photos, videos and more." It also includes "a live Twitter feed tied to the brand's @TruckTrendcom handle and weather forecasts linked to Weather.com with a dynamic interface that changes to reflect temperature and time of day."
"The app was designed to be monetized by sponsorship, and remain free for users," says Michael Beller, vice president, SIM Mediaworks, Source Interlink Media."Ford is the official Sponsor for Q4. It includes placement on every page, an image of the vehicle, and a subsection of the app featuring their web assets."
Tip 1: "A must-do for any app is to think about … the device you are building for in terms of what your audience will use. Is it a phone in their hand versus a desktop versus a tablet?" asks Beller. "In Truck Trend's case, we asked the publisher what his audience cares about after they are done with the content, and [when they] have a smartphone with them on the way to work or camping. It was simple and clear: the weather. Thus, we added a real-time geo-driven weather feed into the front screen, as well as having the graphic treatment change with the conditions. This was in addition to all the rich, dynamic content in the app."
Tip 2: "Avoid too many meetings and over-thinking. Put a stake in the ground," says Beller. "Apps can always be updated with new features. Users will help shape that vision in the long term. In the end, it's all about serving them with enriching, engaging and innovating content, and new environments. And that's what we do best as an industry." PE