Publishers taking divergent approaches to iPad content

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Chicago—Two divergent approaches to placing magazine content on the iPad were identified in a brief released Thursday, written by Ned May, director-lead analyst at Outsell. The brief (“Magazines on the iPad—‘Oh the Places You’ll Go!’) compared the different iPad approaches being taken by Condé Nast’s Wired and Time Inc.’s Sports Illustrated.

Wired created its tablet digital edition using Adobe software. The large file—527 MB—is available through Apple’s app store. Within the first 24 hours of availability, the Wired app sold 24,000 copies at $4.99 apiece.

Sports Illustrated took a different approach, using HTML5 to create its digital edition, which was accessible on a variety of digital devices and didn’t “require content to be sold via Applie’s proprietary store,” May wrote.

Each approach offered advantages, according to May. In addition to being accessible on a number of devices using a browser, Sports Illustrated’s approach meant it wasn’t dependent on iTunes supplying metrics on readership. A key advantage of Wired’s approach is that it makes use of the magazine’s existing production process.

May’s conclusion: “In short, the iPad remains a problem waiting to be solved. Fundamental questions regarding the right business model, the ideal price, the best distribution channel and the correct content form all remain,” he wrote. He advised publishers to experiment.

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