Archive for November, 2010

Bonnier Digital selects Digital Publishing Suite for news dailies

As more and more media companies create content for tablets, it’s exciting to see how publishers are pushing the boundaries of content creation and design.  Case in point: this week Bonnier, the international publishing group, launched a new initiative to create newspaper applications, named News+, that are distinctly different from the company’s current print or web products.

Built using Adobe Digital Publishing Suite, the Bonnier News+ apps seek to initiate a two-way dialogue with the user while staying on top of a 24-hour content cycle.  Beginning with Swedish news daily Dagens Nyheter, Bonnier is making innovative use of the web view functionality in the Adobe Content Viewer to display HTML5 content and push breaking content to users as it happens throughout the day.  In addition, the company has implemented a subscription payment system via Digital Publishing Suite that will allow customers to subscribe to the magazine and receive updates of content at regular intervals.

Last week, I spoke with Tore Fjärtoft, Head of IT Development at Bonnier Digital, about what they’ve created using Digital Publishing Suite and where they’re going from here.  During my conversation, it was apparent that Bonnier is only at the beginning of what’s to come as they push the boundaries of journalistic content for their readers.  Read my conversation with Fjärtoft below.

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Adobe: Why did you choose this format to publish your newspapers?
Tore Fjärtoft
, Head of IT Development at Bonnier Digital: Dagens Nyheter has been looking into the possibility of publishing a digital version for quite some time.  When the iPad came along, it turned out to be the form factor that fit the ideas we had.  What we’re trying to do is trying to take the best things from our web product, take the best things from the print product and package that into an entirely new product. It’s not the repackaged web. It’s not repackaging the print product. What were doing is creating an entirely new product.

A: So what exactly is this “new product”?
TF
: The experience we want to give our readers is the depth of an editorial experience — but in a more immediate format.  We don’t want it to feel like the flattened web, with no depth & analysis. We want to make users feel they are getting curated, high-value content that is distinguished from the web and from printed newspapers. We’re using different tools, different types of media to do this and include powerful visual storytelling.

A: How are you pushing the boundary of interactivity to tell these stories?
TF:
At launch we’ll have slideshows, video, and what we call a “live layer” in the app.  This live layer is a web view that has stories updated and added to it throughout the day.  During the next 3-6 months we’ll be adding other new features that enable readers to communicate with selected editors.  They can ask a question to our editors right within the app, then the editor can publish a subset of comments and reply to them. We’re also using HTML5 video content in the live layer, and CSS3 to render fonts as well.  With this setup we’re no longer limited to just using system fonts.

A: What has been the response from your advertisers to this digital newspaper?
TF: The response has been quite amazing, with advertisers queuing up to take part of the first initial launch.  Their motivation for creating ads for this digital format is to take advantage of the interactivity in the app, in addition to being part of this new product launch.  Advertisers are doing interactive ads in one way or the other, with video embedded in the ad or with in-app purchase process via a web view.

A: What role does Adobe Digital Publishing Suite play in your production workflow?
TF: The great thing for us is that we can work with a very streamlined process building our publication by using InDesign CS5 and the Adobe tools.  Adobe gives us the ability to leverage the technology in the viewer & production tools so we can produce features like the live layer, the commenting and reply feature, and a reading list where users can save their content for later.  With all this we can produce features unique to Bonnier, which enables us to differentiate our product from our competitors. Readers are looking forward to what we’re doing.  Together with our readers and our advertisers, we’re building a thriving business with this new digital product.

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Bonnier will launch five titles (both business and general news dailies) in the coming months.  The first one, Dagens Nyheter, will soon be available in Swedish.

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9:00 PM Permalink

New Updates for eBook Solution

Today, Adobe has released an update to our Digital Publishing Solution for eBooks, including Content Server 4.1 and Reader Mobile 9.2 SDK.  With these updates, book distributors can enable “social” password-based content protection as well as text-to-speech accessibility support for eBooks.  In addition, Reader Mobile SDK includes a number of rendering, font, and color management enhancements.

Social, password-based content protection

The release of Content Server 4.1 enables “social” password protection for PDF and EPUB eBooks.  Like before, Content Server operators can protect PDF and EPUB files using identity-based authorization.  Under this identity method, eBook files are authorized to a specific user who authenticates using his/her Adobe ID and password.  With the release of Content Server 4.1, publishers and content distributors now have the additional option to protect eBooks using “password-only” authorization.  Under password-only authorization, eBooks are not associated with an Adobe ID; readers only need to enter a password to access the protected content.

This new option enables a new level of flexible “social” permissions for publishers and book distributors.  With this option, readers only need to enter a password to access content and are enabled to share their eBooks with those with whom they entrust their password.  Because Content Server 4 operators determine the password requirements, some operators may choose to make the password something users are unlikely to share (retail account password, credit card number, etc.).  This is not a requirement, however, and other operators will choose to enable passwords that facilitate sharing.  For security, any password users enter to authorize content is converted to a non-reversible one-way hash of the string.

Devices and applications that use Reader Mobile 9.2 SDK  will support files protected by this new password-only authorization.

Text-to-speech accessibility support

Content Server 4.1 also includes support for text-to-speech as part of the available content protection permission set.  With TTS permissions enabled, print-disabled users can access content through “read out loud” functionality on devices using the Reader Mobile 9.1 SDK.  As part of our commitment to deliver accessible eBooks for all users, the default TTS permission in Content Server 4.1 is set to “enabled”.  Because some publishers may choose to disable TTS, Content Server provides flexibility so these publishers can determine their own policies in distributing titles.  However, we strongly encourage publishers to keep the default “enabled” TTS permission in protected content to maintain eBook accessibility.  This approach enables publishers to strike the appropriate balance in controlling how copyrighted works are distributed and ensuring eBook accessibility.

With Content Server 4.1 and Reader Mobile 9.2 SDK, operators can now choose the level of sharing they wish to enable among end-users and provide accessible eBooks to print-disabled users.  Current Content Server 4 and Reader Mobile SDK customers can obtain these updates at no charge.

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Content Server 4

Reader Mobile SDK

Creating eBooks

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5:00 PM Permalink

Martha Stewart Living – reimagined for iPad

Martha Stewart Living, one of the world’s most recognized consumer lifestyle titles, today launched a new special edition of the magazine created with Adobe Digital Publishing Suite.  Celebrating the magazine’s twentieth anniversary, the “Boundless Beauty” special edition includes content created especially for iPad.  The issue includes an Alaskan narrative with immersive photography, panoramic photographs of Martha’s garden, a live display of Martha’s Twitter feed, step-by-step “how to” slideshows, and a beautiful animated cover.  Previewed last month at Adobe MAX, the cover features 180 photos taken over a period of 10 hours and animated to show the flower blooming. The experience also features immersive advertisements that deepen user engagement and allow sustained interaction with a brand.

Gael Towey, Chief Creative and Editorial Director at Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, notes that the app pushes the boundary of design on tablet devices. “The launch of our new digital magazine is an exciting moment for us,” said Towey. “Our app is the culmination of a tremendous creative effort as we worked closely with Adobe to push the limits of what is possible on the new tablet devices.”

Earlier, we visited Martha Stewart Living headquarters to get a sense of how they designed content for the digital experience and what role the Digital Publishing Suite played.  Learn more in this short video below:

Adobe Digital Publishing Suite allows publishers like Martha Stewart preserve their meticulously crafted brand and have a direct relationship with their readers.  To date, Digital Publishing Suite has been used to create wide ranging types of content – including highly designed monthlies like WIRED, text-intensive weeklies like The New Yorker, and now specialized lifestyle content like Martha Stewart Living. Digital Publishing Suite includes the ability to use PDF and HTML as options for article content in order to optimize production workflows and streamline file sizes.

Digital Publishing Suite will be available generally in Q2 2011.  Publishers can begin creating content for commercial deployment today using a beta version of the tools.  Access the tools by registering for the Digital Magazine Publishing prerelease program at http://www.adobe.com/beta or download them on Adobe Labs.

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12:50 PM Permalink