Traditional publishing companies that focus on newspapers and magazines have been embracing digital over the course of the last few years. In some cases, we are seeing the digital editions outselling their printed counterparts. However, maintaining a fleet of Android and iOS apps can be taxing with all of the different screen size requirements. Many smaller publications are finding it economically unfeasible to develop and maintain dedicated apps. To solve this problem Microsoft and NewspaperDirect have developed a Windows 8 App Building Program, aimed exclusively at magazine and newspaper publishers.
The new App Building program allows publishers to maintain and develop their own native Windows 8 application. It incorporates the same type of technology that PressReader uses by streamlining XML and graphic heavy content. It will allow publishers to maintain a replica edition of their traditional print edition and convert it to a more e-reader and tablet friendly format. Users can click on the heading of of any given article and be able to strip away the superfluous data and give the user pure text. This is useful for increasing the size of the font or even adopting a read aloud feature.
Shane Davies, Director, Cloud Services Providers & Top Consumer Brands at Microsoft Canada said, “The growth in the popularity of Windows 8 reflects the shift in how people want to experience content across devices. Brands are already starting to get up close and personal with audiences in real time, on a global scale. NewspaperDirect, a leader in magazine and newspaper applications, and the launch of their Windows 8 app platform, will provide a platform for publishers to reach and engage their audience in compelling ways, and will provide consumers with a range of quality, brand name applications.”
Publishers utilizing the new program will not have to go it alone. One of the benefits of the existing relationship between NewspaperDirect and Microsoft is the synergy that will be bestowed upon new publications. There is an advertising initiative in place that will give publishers the ability to get preferential placement in the Windows 8 App Store, in their regional markets.
Most small town publishers and emerging magazine companies could benefit from these new tools. It will be interesting to see if more indie companies take advantage of something like this, seeing as it requires little effort to produce each daily/monthly issue, once you have the pipeline established.