Tuesday, January 04, 2011

New TweetMag app launched by Toronto firm; good or bad news for publishers?

Design Edge magazine reports that the Toronto digital consulting and design firm Teehan+Lax has launched TweetMag, an iPad app that curates a user's Twitter feed and produces it on the tablet, formatted magazine style.
Working with Toronto-based developers, Tiny Planet, T+L created an application that scans a Twitter stream and presents all of the links in it in readable format. The app costs $4.99 from the iTunes store.
“A lot of times we look to our Twitter feeds for content,” says partner Geoff Teehan. “There are tweets without links and then tweets that share information, which come across as a short URL. You have no idea what it is unless you click on it and then you get shoved into this browser world. We felt there was a better way to present content on your Twitter stream.”
This app is similar to Flipboard, a web-based aggregator which gathers links, articles and photos recommended by Facebook and Twitter friends. The concern that publishers have, however, is that these sorts of applications are platforms that upstage a magazine's own app or branded website. In a recent article in Publishing Executive, David Renard, a partner at the research and consulting firm mediaIdeas warns that if they're not smart, publishers may see control of content taken out of their hands:
"Wired and Bon Appétit have made their content available on the Flipboard platform, and that is fine as a test, but over the long run, as an industry, we need to try and limit disintermediation, not enable it," says David Renard, partner at research and consulting firm mediaIDEAS. "If publishers are not the ones developing new types of paginated media, and new ways to interact with the digital page, smaller, digital-based competitors will."
In the same article, Ashley Norris, the CEO of  the branded content advisory firm Sutro Digital said that mainstream publishers need to act now to protect their interests:
"I think we are at year zero, and no one knows where tablets will end up," he says. "So … it is a unique opportunity for old media brands. My worry for them is that these apps simply won't deliver the returns that they had enjoyed in the heyday of print."

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Blogger Baratta said...

I find it interesting that so many magazines launching or already existing aren't making it a priority to focus on the iPad or even smartphones. I know very little about these platforms (as I do not have a cell phone), but friends have told me it's very important that a website have a smartphone-friendly version of itself. This inspires the user to feel more respect for the website and, likely, use it more, thus increasing advertising value and page views.

1:48 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

so i have had my iPad for 6 months....

I enjoy it IMMENSELY.

it is an insanely great piece of technology...not a big iTouch as some folks might think.

Flipboard is right up there with Scrabble as being a required app...it's that good.

Why folks would pay $4.99 for this app, I don't know...but good luck with things, guys.

Baratta, I sense you might be on the bleeding edge - you've come to the realization that cell phones are the devil.

5:16 pm  
Blogger Baratta said...

Haha, thanks! I don't want to spend money on it and most a cell phone's features can be found on my computer.

The iPad does sound neat; do you read magazines on yours?

10:56 am  

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