Calling All Donkeys and Elephants! Publisher Apps Entice Convention-Goers
Attendees at the upcoming Republican and Democratic national conventions will be thrust into the maelstrom of a media circus, as well as the bustle of an unfamiliar city. Never fear, political junkies! Both the Washington-based National Journal and Bloomberg Government, a division of Bloomberg L.P., have released free apps aimed at convention-goers.
Both feature schedules, area guides, reviews and breaking news, but deep-pocketed Bloomberg seems especially intent on setting itself apart: through a partnership with Event Farm, the my2012Tampa and my2012Charlotte apps allow event planners to sell and distribute tickets to conventioneers. Invitations to official and private events can be issued electronically, tickets sold (and bulk tickets made available to sponsors), RSVPs tracked, and guests checked in. Party-goers can discover who else is attending through link-ups with Facebook and Twitter, and organizers are given real-time views of event attendance.
In addition to providing a go-to tool for convention organizers, hosts and attendees, the app allows Bloomberg Government to show off its extensive political news coverage, analytic and data-gathering tools—and, of course, raise its brand profile.
Over the last couple of years, the SXSW music and tech conference in Austin has been the test kitchen for this level of highly interactive, event-specific app. At SXSW 2012, guests could download apps to build personal schedules, network, locate restaurants, food carts and local attractions, and, yes, RSVP to events.
From techies to political elites to … the masses? I'd expect to see a bunch more of these apps in the near future, offering tourists, event-goers and the merely curious ways to get oriented, connected and marketed to via sophisticated social and location tools.
As Bloomberg and the National Journal demonstrate, such apps provide many opportunities for publishers. Already in the App Store can be found the Smithsonian Visitor's Guide, produced by the editors at Smithsonian magazine, and the Rolling Stone On the Road concert guide, which provides personalized news and updates on live music happening around the nation. Both are good, useful products, but could be further enhanced with more social and e-commerce features. As publishers catch on to the potential for associating their brands with face-to-face experiences and interactions, we will surely see more, and better, mobile offerings of this type.