Big names reach out to grab iPad opportunities

Stephen Fry, BMW, The FT and Ministry of Sound are among the first major publishers and brands to roll out UK iPad apps ahead of the device’s much-anticipated European launch tomorrow.

Stephen Fry, BMW, The FT and Ministry of Sound are among the first major publishers and brands to roll out UK iPad apps ahead of the device’s much-anticipated European launch tomorrow.

Apple, which shifted 1m iPads in its first month on sale in the US, has garnered support from key publishers looking at the tablet media player as the next evolution in online content distribution.

Publishers are preparing to experiment with a number of business models including launching ad-funded, sponsored and premium iPad apps. But they also say app developers have upped their prices as they become inundated with short-deadline work as brands rush to create content for the platform.

Broadcaster and technophile Stephen Fry has launched a series of iPhone apps, including one for his blog, a tie-up with Harper Collins and Framestore CFC for animated readings of Oscar Wilde short stories, and another featuring quotations from Fry himself.

SamFry, the company that manages Stephen Fry’s website, is working with The Digital Tribe to sell ad spots around his content.

Andrew Sampson, joint-MD of SamFry, said, “The iPad presents a great opportunity. With these apps we’re looking to push the boundaries with the Apple API and show where you can go with it.”

The Financial Times hopes to win younger readers by making its premium content free for two months via its iPad app after signing a sponsorship deal with luxury Swiss watch-maker Hublot (nma 6 May 2010).

Steve Pinches, FT’s lead product development manager, said, “We’ve been live for a few days now and have seen a fair number of downloads from the US [where the app has also launched]. The sponsorship model slots quite nicely into our paid content strategy.”

The Telegraph is also looking to launch on the iPad but is wary of simply migrating its iPhone app to the device. Head of mobile Maani Safa said, “The business model should take into account that people are more likely to spend more time on the iPad than iPhones, and advertisers are willing to pay for that.

“The sponsorship model on the iPad is definitely something we’re looking at, but I don’t know whether or not we’ll go for it,” he added. “I think a lot of publishers have simply tried to replicate the newspaper experience on the iPad. This gives you less content in a less intuitive manner, so we’re trying to provide a completely new experience that has nothing to do with the web.”

Magazine publishers are also looking to launch on the iPad. Dennis Publishing has appointed digital agency PixelMags to launch an iPad app for its Apple-specialist title Mac User. Paul Lomax, chief technology officer at Dennis, said, “We’re looking at doing something for most of our titles. With some we’ll go into more depth, so there might be more than one app for some brands.”

He added, however, that because publishers have been rushing to launch apps, “Finding people to work on iPad apps at a reasonable rate has been a bit of a challenge.”

This Friday’s nma Live will focus on new content and ad opportunities for brands brought about by the iPad. See nmalive.co.uk for details.

This story first appeared on newmediaage.co.uk

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