Archive for February, 2011

US Marine Corps publishes Marines magazine

I confess, lately I have been addicted to the military reality show “Surviving the Cut” on Discovery Channel.  Imagine my surprise, then, in the midst of my intense curiosity about special forces training, the US Marines Corps launched Marines magazine last week using Digital Publishing Suite.  Enhanced with video and interactivity, Marines is looking forward to delivery on Android devices using Content Viewer for Android, as well as pinpointing content performance using the Adobe Online Marketing Suite (Omniture).

Earlier this week, I interviewed Greg Reeder, Director of the Marine Corps Production Directorate and Lead, Marine Corps New Media.  Reeder is responsible for publishing the magazine and collaborated with Seth Sirbaugh, Creative Director at Bates Creative Group, who led the charge in designing and producing the publication.  Read the backstory in my interview with them below.

Adobe: What is Marines magazine?
Greg Reeder, US Marine Corps:
Marines® is the official magazine of the U.S. Marine Corps. Our audience includes Marines, their family members, veterans’ service organizations, and educational institutions.  78,000 copies of the magazine’s print version are produced quarterly, plus three special issues that highlight sports, compelling photography and content driven by our audience.

A: What were your goals in creating this digital edition?
GR:
We recognized the need for serving our content in multiple mediums — starting with an online version.  Being online gave us an advantage, beyond print, that enabled us to deliver a broader range of well designed, efficiently delivered information that also allowed our audience a direct channel to provide feedback, through comments on all of the magazine content. With the advent of digital platforms such as the iPad, we took the logical next step in being able to efficiently reach a wider, more connected audience – with even better design, more functionality and deeper capabilities. Our goals for the iPad, and soon for Android devices, were to give users a broader Marine Corps experience.  We planned for each issue to contain at least three videos, interactive features, the ability to share content in social media outlets, amazing photography, as well as fun, and informative information that will motivate Marines and be interesting to those who want to know and understand their Marine Corps.

A: What results did you see?
GR:
We have seen good results so far.  Since releasing the second edition of the magazine on the App Store with Digital Publishing Suite, we experienced more than a thousand downloads in the first week alone – all without any specific marketing campaign.  We simply made the app available and an eager audience arrived to invite us onto their iPads.

A: What are your plans going forward for digital?
GR:
We’re convinced that Digital Publishing Suite and our ability to deliver to multiple platforms will continue to increase our capability to deliver more interesting, useful and beneficial products for our audience.  We’re excited to get more involved in the analytics that Digital Publishing Suite has to offer as well – to better understand our audience, the ways they use, and want to receive, our products.  Aside from making Marines magazine available as a bi-monthly digital (iPad and Android) publication, we also plan to make the app available for mobile and tablet devices such as the Motorola Xoom and Blackberry Playbook, and eBook readers such as the Kindle and Nook. Looking out a bit further, we hope to leverage Adobe tools and capabilities to help us offer other forms of interactive apps and downloads for our mobile customers – making it easier for them to get the information they want; need and, perhaps don’t yet even realize is available to them, to interact with every day.

A: Why did you choose Digital Publishing Suite?
Seth Sirbaugh, Bates Creative Group: We chose the Digital Publishing Suite because of the workflow. The Digital Publishing Suite workflow is immediately faster because it is easily understood by someone with a solid grasp of InDesign CS5. This means no new hires, no long training sessions, no partnering with specialized developers. You can focus on what’s important… the design and creative storytelling instead of constantly trying to fix bugs and development problems as you go. I have really been happy with how easy our team picked it up. Its been a great experience.

A: What would you improve about the toolset?
SS: As for improvement, I think we would definitely say animation. The multi-state objects and buttons allow us to create ‘animated’ objects, and if you get really creative you can pull off some slick looking UI with the multi-state objects and buttons.  It would still give us a tremendous amount of creative firepower if the animations palette actually translated via Digital Publishing Suite.  [Dave: Duly noted.]

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1:00 PM Permalink

Global adoption of Digital Publishing Suite

Many of the publications created using Digital Publishing Suite are produced by publishers from all over the world – YOU Inspire from the UK’s Mail on Sunday, Mint on the Decade from India’s Hindustan Times, Dagens Nyheter from Bonnier in Sweden, Auto Esporte from Globo in Brazil and a whole host of other titles across Asia, Europe and Latin America. Out of curiosity, I decided to map the titles based on their country of origin. While we’re clearly seeing strong interest from publishers within the US, many of the titles we enable come from outside of North America (roughly 70%). Check out the map and data below.


Titles using Digital Publishing Suite – by Country (Feb 2011)

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8:34 PM Permalink

Mail on Sunday Launches “YOU Inspire” on iPad

Today, a guest post from my colleague Emma Wilkinson of Adobe UK.

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YOU Inspire, a high-fashion supplement from the award-winning* YOU Magazine team at UK newspaper Mail on Sunday, has gone live on iPad. This is the first app that the UK’s Daily Mail newspaper has developed using Adobe Digital Publishing Suite and they’ve chosen a really exciting magazine for the project.

YOU Inspire is published quarterly to bring readers the best of fashion collections from leading designers. For a magazine that’s all about beautiful clothing and ‘getting the look’ for this summer, the tablet format has enabled the team to deliver a really engaging experience for readers . For example, they’ve been able to use video to bring the catwalk shows at London Fashion Week into readers’ living rooms.  The slideshow feature in Adobe Digital Publishing Suite has also enabled the team to develop interactive walk-throughs showing readers how to combine clothes to get ‘that look’ for this coming Summer.

The app was created by two dedicated in-house designers who used the pre-release version of Adobe Digital Publishing Suite to produce the tablet edition without having to write a single line of code. Built in parallel with the print version, the designers took the original InDesign files and reworked the content to build in the interactive features and videos.

The new app isn’t just great for readers; the Mail on Sunday see it as a great platform for advertising partners as well. YOU Inspire is unashamedly upmarket, aimed at readers with disposable income that love their high-fashion brands, so the interactive nature of the tablet app promises to bring the big fashion brands much closer to these important customers.

The Mail on Sunday is the second biggest circulation Sunday newspaper in the UK, with just under 2 million readers, and the Daily Mail is the UK’s biggest national newspaper website, recording close to 56 million unique browser visits in Jan 2011.  It’s great to see Daily Mail General Trust working with Adobe Digital Publishing Suite!

*YOU magazine has been awarded Supplement of the Year in the British Press Awards for the last three years.

 

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5:54 PM Permalink

Drop 10 of Digital Publishing Suite tools now available, including Apple Subscription support

Earlier today we updated the Digital Publishing Suite tools in the prerelease program with new enhancements – including the capability for publishers in the prerelease program to take advantage of Apple subscriptions when integrated with a publisher entitlement server.  This support allows publishers immediate opportunity to start monetizing recurring content via subscriptions.  As I wrote about last week we expect to have support in the near future for Google OnePass to further enable publishers to use flexible e-commerce models that best suit their business.

You’ll also find the following new features/enhancements in drop 10 of the tools:

Pinch and zoom in PDF folios
If you select the PDF export option while bundling, users can use the pinch gesture to zoom in on a page that doesn’t contain interactive overlays.

Localized viewers
The Adobe Content Viewer language interface changes based on the device’s locale settings and including English, French, German, Swedish, Spanish, and Japanese.

Folio renditions
You can create multiple renditions (versions of a layout based on aspect ratio or screen resolution) of a publication for different mobile devices. Content Viewer will download only the rendition that most closely matches the device’s dimensions.  This simplifies delivery by downloading only the rendition of the file that will display most crisply on the device, a key component moving forward as we enable publishers to author once and deploy on multiple devices.

Pagination in HTML stacks
HTML stacks (articles) can now be divided into pages more elegantly.

Of course, Drop 10 also includes support for Android devices through Content Viewer for Android, which I also wrote about last week.

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7:31 AM Permalink

Automate branded viewer creation with new Viewer Builder service

Late last week we released a new service as part of Digital Publishing Suite – the Viewer Builder service.  Available via the Digital Publishing Suite prerelease program immediately, Viewer Builder allows publishers to easily create a publisher-branded Content Viewer for iPad by uploading branded assets (logo, splash screen etc.) and automating the viewer creation and certificate signing process.  As such, for multi-folio apps you no longer need to submit assets directly to Adobe to create a branded Content Viewer.  By using Viewer Builder you’ll be able to reduce time-to-market for creating and monetizing digital publications.

More importantly, the service is included as one of the core Digital Publishing Suite services covered under the Digital Publishing Suite Platform fee when the solution ships in Q2 2011 (it is free-of-charge in prerelease until then).  As such, publishers can create an unlimited number of apps under the Digital Publishing Suite Platform fee without incurring a per-app creation charge.  This model allows publishers freedom to innovate and experiment on what types of apps fit in best with your business model and serve your readership best.

Updated: Included more recent screenshot of Viewer Builder

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5:18 PM Permalink

Martha Stewart Everyday Food now available

Everyday Food, a cooking and lifestyle magazine from Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, is now available on iPad. Featuring simple, easy-to-prepare recipes, the digital format of the publication transforms the how recipes are used in the kitchen. For example, readers are able to view videos used to illustrate a cooking concept (I learned how to prepare Mushroom and Black Bean Tortilla Casserole). Additionally, you can swap out ingredients and see alternate preparations of a recipe by tapping on an animation button. Also embedded in each recipe is the option to email the recipe text and share with a family member or friend. Ingredient lists can also be emailed to read while on-the-go or at the store. The first issue (January/February) of Everyday Food includes 74 recipes and is free. Subsequent issues are $2.99 and available through Apple in-app purchase.

Download Everyday Food from the App Store

Check out a short behind-the-scenes video from the Everyday Food team below.

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2:00 PM Permalink

Vogue launches on iPad

Photo/Mario Testino

One of the most iconic international magazine titles – Vogue – launched today on iPad using Digital Publishing Suite. Featuring Lady Gaga on the cover and throughout the issue (must be hot on the heels of the Grammies), the Vogue Covers app showcases rich photography along with audio and video interviews. From the Vogue press release: “With the Cover Exclusive app, we have created a custom brand of journalism targeted at the Twitter generation—a digitally enhanced version of our cover story, with exclusive video, audio, and photographic outtakes,” said Anna Wintour, editor-in-chief of Vogue.

Most interesting to me, however, is the business model Vogue has chosen to monetize their content (yes, I am nerdy like that). For now, the strategy is focus on smaller, focused apps featuring the content of the cover story, priced at $0.99 – “snackable” content, you might say.

Download the Vogue Covers app from the App Store

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7:45 AM Permalink

Google OnePass and Digital Publishing Suite

The announcement of the Google OnePass payment system today again offers another mechanism for publishers to monetize digital publishing content. With Digital Publishing Suite, Adobe expects to support Google in-app purchases and subscriptions via the OnePass system.

While it remains to be seen exactly what consumer data will be provided by Google through OnePass, this is a positive step to ensure the growth & sustainability of the digital magazine market. Access to consumer data is a key requirement of publishers because improves the quality of advertising and allows publications additional opportunities to merchandise and monetize their products.

As I mentioned in my previous blog post about Apple subscriptions, what we’re hearing from our publishing customers is that they want flexible models through which they can monetize.  We’re enabling this in our eCommerce Service through support for app marketplaces (Apple and Google subscriptions), direct purchase from publishers (for example, Bonnier integrated directly with their subscription data) and content aggregators.  With more Android devices expected to come to market, publishers will have increased opportunity to choose where and how they sell their content. Our plan is to stand by our publishers for the long-term to help them navigate the devices, platforms, payment methods, and exciting opportunities that come with digital publishing.

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9:59 PM Permalink

WIRED on Honeycomb, Motorola Xoom

At Mobile World Congress this week in Barcelona, Spain, we announced the availability Content Viewer for Android — which enables Digital Publishing Suite publishers to create content for both Android 2.2 (Froyo) and Android 3.0 (Honeycomb) devices. Case in point: Condé Nast, publisher of WIRED magazine, showed off the magazine on the Motorola Xoom running Honeycomb. Check out the video below for more info (courtesy Seattle Times):

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7:32 PM Permalink

On Subscriptions, Distribution Channels and Publisher Choice

I think it would be an understatement to say that the announcement of Apple’s App Store subscriptions yesterday was long awaited.  Yes, this subscription model is a step forward for media publishers because it will grow overall demand for digital publishing products. As part of this growth, we expect publishers to continue to look for more control over how they merchandise and price their products as well as more direct access to their customers.

At Adobe, we’re working with our Digital Publishing Suite customers to enable them to have maximum choice in how they sell and distribute their content – whether that’s through app marketplaces like the Apple App Store or Android Market, through direct entitlement via a publisher Web site or through a content aggregator.  In fact, we’ve enabled enterprise publishers like Bonnier to have a direct subscription option since last year, leading to a 15% increase in subscriptions.

Yes, it’s true, the App Store is currently a popular distribution channel. As such, Adobe expects to provide publishers using Digital Publishing Suite the ability to sell digital subscriptions through the App Store very soon enabling readers a convenient, and long awaited subscription option.  And as additional marketplaces, distribution channels and devices come to market (including Android devices, for which we announced support on Monday) we’ll also have options available for publishers to monetize their content in the way that makes most sense for their business.  This approach allows publishers the flexibility to run their businesses they way they need to, because, after all, they’re closest to their customers.

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5:21 PM Permalink

Now Available: Content Viewer for Android

In recent weeks, I’ve heard clear excitement from publishers about creating publishing content for the wave of Android tablets coming to market soon (like the Motorola Xoom).  Publishers see the growth of Android tablets as key to enabling maximum reach for their content and also essential to building a profitable digital business. Flexibility in how publishers distribute content across these new platforms and marketplaces will be pivotal to growing readership and monetizing content.

To help our customers capitalize on these opportunities I’m excited today to announce that Content Viewer for Android, part of Digital Publishing Suite, is available immediately for download through the Digital Publishing Suite Prerelease program.  Compatible for use on Android 3.0 (Honeycomb) and Android 2.2 (Froyo) devices, this new viewer allows publishers to author using Digital Publishing Suite and deploy that content across platforms and different devices.

Major publishers using Digital Publishing Suite are on board to create and distribute content using Content Viewer for Android.  Condé Nast, National Geographic and Dennis Publishing are among the first publishers to indicate they will use this new viewer to amplify the reach of their content. National Geographic, in fact, is a significant new publisher using Digital Publishing Suite and will soon be launching “50 Greatest Photographs of National Geographic” on Android (and also iPad).

In addition to flexible distribution across device platforms, Digital Publishing Suite also enables publishers to choose how they will monetize their content. After all, creating a viable digital publishing ecosystem requires that publishers are able to sell their content on popular devices while maintaining long-established direct relationships with their customers. As such, Digital Publishing Suite supports direct entitlement (where publishers can fulfill digital content by integrating with a print subscriber database) as well as in-app purchase (currently through Apple App store, with planned support for Android Market).  Adobe helps publishers enable their readers to flexibly buy their favorite digital publications from their mobile marketplace of choice  to be read on a wide variety of tablet devices, including the impending wave of Android tablets.

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5:01 AM Permalink

Content Server 4 – now available through resellers

eBooks continue to see tremendous growth in the marketplace, with analyst firm Yankee Group forecasting last week 83% growth in ebook sales year-over-year through 2013.  To meet this increasing interest in eBooks, we’re changing the way customers can license Content Server 4, one of the key elements of our Digital Publishing Solution for eBooks.  Previously available only direct from Adobe, we’ve engaged a handful of trusted resellers to license our eBook content protection solution.  In North America, interested customers can contact Bluefire Productions or Datalogics for more information on Adobe’s cross-platform, interoperable eBook DRM.

In addition to this change, we’ve updated Content Server with a new service that streamlines the ebook authorization process.  The new Content Server Vendor ID service integrates a retailer’s account management system with Content Server, allowing users to authenticate eBooks with an email address other than their Adobe ID.  This new service streamlines the workflow for authorizing eBooks by eliminating the extra step of acquiring an Adobe ID.

To obtain contact information for Content Server 4 resellers, email contentserver_sales@adobe.com

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5:00 AM Permalink

India’s 2nd largest English daily newspaper launches app

With the launch of the iPad in India last week, content publishers are anxious to take advantage of new digital publishing opportunities in the Asia/Pacific region.  One of the first to do so is Mint, a business publication from the second largest English daily newspaper in India – Hindustan Times. Launched four years ago in a partnership with The Wall Street Journal, Mint is the first Indian business daily to launch an iPad publication.

The new app, Mint on the Decade, is a free special edition powered by Adobe Digital Publishing Suite that chronicles events in 22 major areas (like art, media, and sports) over the last decade through images, videos and panorama.

R. Sukumar, Editor of Mint notes that his publication designed this issue specifically for iPad.  “We believe Mint readers are smart and usually ahead of the curve. With this in mind, we have put together articles from our own writers and editors, as well as from external experts in the form of an iPad app. Interestingly, unlike other products that go from print to web, this issue was created and designed for the iPad, leveraging digital publishing technology from Adobe, and then repurposed for print as our special anniversary issue” he said.

It also marks the first publication using Digital Publishing Suite in India, as well as increasing adoption around the world.  Publishers in Asia, the Middle East, Europe and North & South America have all chosen to use Digital Publishing Suite to bring their publications to life on tablet devices.

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5:33 PM Permalink

Streamlining Labs/Prerelease, Drop 9 available

Since we released the Digital Publishing Suite tools last October, you’ve been able to access them from two locations — through the Digital Publishing Suite Prerelease Program and on the Adobe Labs site.  Because the Prerelease Program is able to be updated more quickly than Labs, we’ve made the decision to streamline the programs and focus on Prerelease as the primary avenue for getting the tools into your hands.  As such, in the future we won’t be updating the tools on Labs; however, you can find the latest toolset by signing up for the Prerelease Program at http://www.adobe.com/beta (select “Adobe Digital Publishing Suite”).  This shift gives users the lastest access to new versions of the tools — including Drop 9, which was made available earlier today (the latest version previously available in Labs was Drop 4).  Similar to the Labs program, Prerelease users can also find user forums (which are very actively used, judging from the amount of email in my inbox every morning) to seek advice from each other and solve problems.

More info

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7:02 AM Permalink

RT: Design Decisions for Digital Publishing Apps

When creating a digital publication, designers and production staff have options on how the folio file is displayed and rendered to the reader.  One of my colleagues, Bob Bringhurst, today outlined some of these design and production options on his InDesign Docs blog, including answers to the questions below.  Take a look at his blog post and see how these options can improve the user experience and readability of your publication.

  • Single-folio or multi-folio viewer app?
  • Orientation — vertical, horizontal, or both?
  • What are the best options for dual-orientation apps?
  • For multi-issue folios, should the preview folio be included or downloadable?
  • What’s the best way to provide free preview content?
  • Should vertical swiping be turned off?
  • Smooth scrolling or page-by-page flipping?
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11:27 PM Permalink