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Planning for Multiplatform Publishing

05 Aug 2013

With so much at stake, and so much potential labour cost involved in maintaining multiple channels, many publishers are being cautious in planning their long-term content strategies. (Long term to many is only two to three years). To many publishers, tablet and smartphone output are both facets of their overall mobile strategy, especially as smaller tablets and phone-tablet hybrids proliferate. To others, tablets and phones are entirely separate.

With so many different devices and screens in subscribers' hands, the days of simply re-purposing print content workflows for a single device-the 1024 x 768 pixel iPad-appear to be over.

Before delving into the "create once, output for multiple channels" approach, it should be noted that many publishers-particularly smaller ones-are still perfectly content to re-purpose their print content PDFs as enhanced digital replicas. There are many service providers that, for a modest fee, will convert PDFs, add interactive elements-or provide Web tools for clients to do so-and manage delivery to the major tablet platforms. One developer asserted that many publishers are choosing to support only three major tablet platforms (Apple iPad, Samsung Galaxy and Amazon Kindle Fire)-at least for now. While not all tablet screens have aspect ratios comparable to that of printed editions, many of them come close enough to keep the enhanced facsimile alive for the near term.

Native apps are not the only "containers" for enhanced tablet editions. Publishing service providers like Nxtbook Media, BlueToad and Uberflip (formerly Mygazines) have introduced HTML5-based Web apps that solve many of the OS- and device-related problems of native apps-making magazine content more practical on a wider range of tablets and smartphones.

Given the labour and subscription costs of hosted publishing management systems, there is clearly a tier of publishers that will choose this type of solution for enhanced facsimiles for the foreseeable future.

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