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Panpa Bulletin : November 2010
www.panpa.org.au 14 | NOVEMBER 2010 | The PANPA Bulletin Fairfax apps break mould THE new Fairfax iPhone apps are some of the most polished offerings on the iPhone to date. Launched in late September, Fairfax has produced apps for smh.com.au, theage.com.au, WAtoday.com.au, and the bris- banetimes.com.au. Eschewing the now 'tradi- tional' newspaper-iPhone-app design of a single column with headlines and thumbnails, the app opens on a series of sections in columns, which you can navi- gate by swiping left or right. This layout will be familiar to anyone who has used Tweetdeck, and indeed Darren Burden, Director of News and Platforms at Fairfax Digital, said Tweetdeck's layout inspired the design. "Over six months of devel- opment, we've looked at the best features of other popular applications and incorporated that thinking into a clean and compre- hensive user experience that changes the way we interact with news," he said. "We looked at Tweetdeck, which we thought had the best way of navigat- ing a bucket-load of content quickly. We looked at parts of USA Today and the New York Times, as well as the 'readability' of The Guardian." This is a clever way to handle large amounts of content on the iPhone, allowing you to see at a glance the top story in each section. These col- umns are customisable as well, each can be added or removed, including somewhat strangely the "sponsors" column, though Mr Burden says that this is as intended. Once you've picked a section, the app zooms in on that column, which then takes on the now-familiar lay- out of headlines with thumbnails, with a large image at the top of each column rotating through the top stories, and in some sections there's a horizontally scrolling video gallery. Advertising within the app is unob- trusive, currently restricted to banner ads below the headline stories, and a dedicated column for the app "spon- sors", which can be used for targeted advertising or special offers. This is one of the few newspaper company iPhone apps I've come across that makes video available, and it's done well. While you might want to keep an eye on your data quota (as there is no file size information for videos) videos stream in good qual- ity, and are easily watchable over WiFi or 3G. Like most iPhone apps, the new Fairfax apps are released in a 'version one' state, and will be upgraded with new features based on reader feed- back. Mr Burden said they already had some ideas of what they might implement in future versions. "We'll want to see what people are saying about it, to help us decide what we should do next. This might be adding sports scores, offline browsing, look-up stocks, that kind of stuff." Despite the long wait since the apps were announced, the Fairfax team has delivered a top of the line product that goes well beyond existing apps from other newspaper companies. These apps were reviewed on a pre-release version, actual fea- tures and performance may differ slightly. Nick Evershed NPA The new smh.com.au app from Fairfax A$2.49 for 31 days or A$12.99 for a six-month subscription REVIEWED BY All Hale new survey MEDIA buyers have welcomed fresh competition into the Australian readership market with the launch of a new survey by The Newspaper Work's subsidiary, The Readership Works. The tender for the new survey was won by Ipsos MediaCT after a five- month process. Ipsos conducts 20 similar surveys around the world. It will offer sectional readership data, audience engagement with mo- bile and tablet apps and newspaper websites, plus the possibility of more frequent data. "We wanted to develop a survey which would have greater flexibil- ity and give greater insight into how readers engage with various products newspaper companies distribute," said Newspaper Works CEO and The Readership Works chairman Tony Hale. "Newspapers have evolved to become even stronger brands in the digital age. "We need to understand how peo- ple engage no matter what platform they are reading. "We need to understand how readers engage with the content throughout newspapers, not just gross readership. The new metric will de- liver more insight than currently available." Research company Roy Morgan dominates the Australian market and declined to bid for The Readership Works' tender. "Advertising agencies and media buyers have argued that the single readership survey is no longer enough," Mr Hale said. "They want more detailed infor- mation about how readers are inter- acting with different sections of the paper. "It has become incumbent on us to provide that information." Director of research at Mitchells & Partner, John Alderton, said The Readership Works had spurred Roy Morgan into action. "They (Roy Morgan) have recently begun a new newspaper topic interest survey and are about to launch sectional readership data. These areas have been dormant for a long time, and media agencies have demanded them -- and now they have woken up." William Burlace, director of media services at Roy Morgan Research, told The Bulletin his company had called for the inclusion of sectional readership data for years. "Sectional readership data was one of the things we wanted to get off the ground in 2005 but the publishers were nervous," he said. Since July, Roy Morgan has been collecting sectional readership data with the view to release it in early 2011. "We have added 22 different ques- tions, including 'did you enjoy reading topic 'a', do you read topic 'a' only when you have time' and so on." Mr Burlace said Roy Morgan would not collect mobile and tablet apps data. "There has been a lot of hype -- they (apps) have not made a sig- nificant dent in the market. As soon as they do we will move quickly to address their use." The independence of Roy Mor- gan's research gives credibility to its data, according to Mr Alderton who sits on the board of the Audit Bureau of Circulations and is on the technical committee of Oztam, which collects television audience engagement data. He noted the National Readership Survey in the UK was 92 percent funded by publishers with media buy- ers picking up the rest of the cost. The high representation of media buyers on the Joint Industry Commit- tee gives the data its credibility, Mr Alderton said. "If media buyers were strongly rep- resented in The Readership Works survey I would consider moving from Morgan. I am definitely open to being convinced," Mr Alderton said. The Newspaper Works has consult- ed the Media Federation of Australia (of which Mitchells is not a member) which sits on The Readership Works' Technical Committee. The Australian Association of National Advertisers and The Com- munications Council will also be part of an ongoing consultative process. Chairman of the MFA, Henry Tajer, said: "I would like to congratu- late The Readership Works on taking the lead in developing an audience metric for the future. It is a bold and exciting move. I am confident that media agencies will support this new audience measurement system." Mary-Ellen Vincent, Managing Director for Ipsos Australia, who will be heading The Readership Works project, would not reveal methodolo- gies but said it would not mimic the 100 percent face-to-face interviews conducted by Roy Morgan. "Respondents like to be contacted in a range of different ways, such as online. Door knocking is not repre- sentative enough," Ms Vincent said. "Other media have advanced fur- ther with their understanding of how people engage with their products. So I would hope this new readership survey will bring print up to date," she said. Tony Hale, CEO of The Newspaper Works and Chairman of The Readership Works iPad, Kindle and paper . . . take your pick as new industry survey promises to measure it all. Image: Brian Brooks ebecca Leaver NPA