The iPad Gold Rush
While reading yet another somewhat misguided story about what is wrong with iPad magazine apps, a reference to a session at the last South by Southwest Interactive event stopped me in my tracks.
The story referred to Andrew Siegle, senior vice president of strategy at Advance Publications, who hosted a session called "Conde Nast in Start Up Mode."
This instantly struck a chord as I realized that for the first time since Guttenberg invented the printing press, all players within the publishing industry are at a level playing field. This is due to yet another industry shifting invention ... the iPad.
There is little doubt or resistance to the fact that this device is transforming how we consume media, and in turn transforming the publishing industry. As a result, any publishing company, large or small, has been presented with the same chance to seize this opportunity and create a significant business model.
Most publishers realize thar's gold in them thar iPad hills, and it is ready to be mined. We are at the phase that is equivalent to 1848, when pioneers first rushed to California to make a land grab, as early adopting publishers are staking their claims.
The scene that is yet to play out is who will be James Marshall ... the first to find the gold. My money is on the little guy, the independent publisher. We saw it with the Web and I expect history to repeat itself. It wasn't the legacy media companies who innovated publishing on the Web, it was startups such as The Drudge Report, Gawker Media and The Huffington Post, to name just a few.
When it comes to digital publishing, cheaper and simpler software, a lower cost of entry and a rapidly changing technology standard that everyone is equally striving to grasp, neutralizes the advantages of greater financial resources, larger staffs and industry experience.
The independent publisher also holds an advantage in innovative thinking, mobility and a drive to succeed that is embedded within the entrepreneurial mindset. These are not characteristics that are commonly found within a corporate structure.
There is no doubt that established brands have a leg up when first coming to market with a new app, and the big guys will thrive once they figure things out. But there is room at the top and quality content within a truly innovative format will be enough to propel any unknown up to equally lofty heights.
Ron Matejko is the President of Phoenix, Ariz.-based MVP Media, an award-winning digital publishing company. Matejko has 16 years of publishing experience in print, Web and mobile and has worked on the staff of two award-winning publications.
MVP Media publishes MVP Magazine, the first interactive sports publication, which won a Bronze 2010 Digital Magazine Award for Best Sports Magazine, besting entrants from 26 countries around the world, and was a finalist for Designer of the Year. MVP Media will launch its own magazines on the iPad in 2011.
MVP Media also helps existing publishers convert their print products into dynamic publications for the web and tablets. Visit the MVP Magazine website at www.mvptoday.com. Contact Ron by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org, or connect with him on LinkedIn or on Twitter @mvp_media.