“The way our audience is consuming media is evolving at a break neck speed”, says Pradeep Gairola, vice president and business head, timesofindia.com. We agree. One of the latest additions to technology that is helping media evolve at the ‘break neck speed’ is Apple’s tablet, the iPad.
1In India, The Times of India is just one of the few newspapers to have grabbed the opportunity the platform provides. Others like the Hindustan Times (Mint on the Decade), Dainik Jagran, and The Malayala Manorama have also joined an ever growing list of Indian newspapers to jump onto the iPad bandwagon.
Hindustan Times’ business daily, Mint, launched its iPad version on the occasion of its fourth anniversary. ‘Mint on the decade’, the application launched, is a free interactive application available on the iPad which presents the highlights of the last decade in the form of rich images, videos and panorama. It covers the major events and occurrences in the fields of art, politics, sports and business.
Talking about their application for the iPad, Vivek Khanna, business head, Mint, said, “Mint readers are early adopters. So we wanted to be amongst the first movers, and hence it is a critical way to connect with our readers. The app is feature rich and supports videos, dynamic graphics, panoramas amongst other things”.
2Another advantage the newspapers hope to gain with an iPad application is attaining a global audience. Mario Garcia, designer of the iPad application for the Malayala Manorama, said, “With the iPad, Malayala Manorama gains a true global audience. Keralites across the world can now come to the iPad and read all the stories from home, along with galleries of photos, videos, commentary. The iPad will allow for reacquaintances to be established”
3 The iPad is a relatively new creation. The digital version of the newspapers provides ample opportunity for the designers to tweak the design of the newspapers and with several newspapers ready to take the plunge, the design of these applications could be the differentiator which determines the success of these applications.
On the challenge in design faced by The Times of India, Gairola said, “The design and user interface for the app was an internal process which involved our product and edit teams working very closely with each other. It was quite interesting for us to combine the best of both worlds, i.e. the elegant and readable layout of the print product with the real-time-updated environment of the digital edition. “
On the concept behindMint’s design, Khanna said, “Most of the work was done internally. We partnered with Adobe for the technical aspects related to the design. The decision to choose Adobe was simple as the best magazines run on the platform”.
4Mariam Mammen Mathew, chief operating officer, Manorama Online, said, “For the 123-year old Malayala Manorama, the transition to the iPad was easy. We have been pioneers in adopting new story-telling techniques and technologies. The Malayala Manorama has a huge presence in the online medium as well as the mobile space. Tablets are closest to the newspapers in the digital world and allow readers to have a richer experience newspaper with a flick. We are a journalism focused company and we feel the iPad presents a wonderful opportunity to be great storytellers.”
The reason behind the transition being that easy is because of the eagerness of the iPad users, which has resulted in large download numbers. Gairola echoed Mathew’s sentiment by saying, “The response has been very encouraging with the app receiving a rating of 4.5/ 5. The App became the number one free app on the Indian iTunes store within hours of launch and continues to retain the top spot. It has also done well in the US market in terms of ranking.”
Khanna added, “The response has been very positive and encouraging. We seek to further enhance our offering when we come out with the daily edition app.”
With the digital switch seeming positive, this set of newspapers won’t be the only ones to take the iPad plunge.
What it means for…
- Convenient, simple to carry many newspapers at a time
- News from around the world
- Worldwide reach
- More choices for innovation
- Well defined target market