M-PUBLISHING PODCAST: Handmark CEO Tells Why ‘Good Brands & Great Apps’ May Not Cut It

Topic: Media, Mobile Apps | Author: Peggy Anne Salz | Date: May 28, 2010

Handmark logoIn-brief: In the countdown to M-PUBLISHING (June1, London) MSG catches up with keynote speaker Paul Reddick, CEO of Handmark, to discuss opportunities and threats facing media companies everywhere. Is it all about iPhone? How can publishers cope with a plethora of devices and platforms? This in-dept podcast has some surprising answers.

Does the iPad represent an opportunity or a threat to content companies? Can print publishing survive? What are the monetization models that will guarantee sustainable mass-market success? These are just a few of the hot topics media companies, analysts and attendees will debate during M-PUBLISHING on June 1 in London.

There are still a few tickets for this event –  which combines an array of formats, sessions and provocative one-on-one debates to identify winning business models and encourage alliances that will deliver positive results. Speakers at M-PUBLISHING include: representatives from leading U.K. daily newspapers (Guardian, Mirror, Evening Standard, Mail, FT), global magazine publishers (IPC Media, Bauer Media, Contagious Magazine), and book publishers (HarperCollins, Ether Books). Digital media experts from Sky, Absolute Radio will also present their key learnings and Teletext Mobile will use the event to demo its new iPad application for the Metro, a free newspaper in the U.K.


To identify industry concerns and gauge interest in issues such as advertising-funded schemes and the rift between mobile applications and mobile websites Camerjam has also conducted an informal online poll of practitioners and professionals. The survey, which is still going on, has provided some interesting initial findings:

  • Is there a future for print publishing? Yes 77% (357 votes), No 23% (109 votes)
  • Apps vs. mobile websites ? Apps 74% (201 votes), Mobile websites 26% (72 votes)
  • Is ad funded or paid content more sustainable? Ad funded 48% (32 votes), Paid 52% (35 votes)


Paul ReddickIn the countdown to this high-caliber event Camerjam has teamed with MSG to produce a special podcast interview with Paul Reddick, CEO of Handmark.(press release)  In this exclusive interview Paul urges publishers to acknowledge the impact of device and platform fragmentation on their future business. As he put it:  “Publishers need to be where their customers are. It’s not just the iPhone or the iPad. You [publishers] must build rich applications that take advantage of what all these devices can do….It’s not enough to have a good brand and a great app. Publishers also need to seek partners that actively drive distribution of their apps and monetization of their business.”

Among the highlights:

APPS VS WEBSITES: “You’re going to get far more engaged with the customer with an application versus just providing an optimized global website, and that application needs to be able to cache information, to cover text, pictures, video, and other elements that you want to keep up to date. Then you [really] take advantage of what that specific device can do.” Paul says he is currently seeing a lot of rich apps – and this makes sense because these apps also offer users a richer experience. “These applications allow customers to personalize to some degree the content and the whole viral aspect of being able to share content between these applications is fantastic as well.  I also think the opportunity is to make real money….Media brands are getting to have their day again. To get to customers with an icon and their content —something they seemed to have lost in search on the Web.”

iPAD: For a media company, it’s important to play across all devices. “I think it’s very important to keep the distinction between mobile and portable devices out there and recognize that – while Apple is pioneering – it’s not ploughing new ground alone.  There are others that will be out there soon.”

LES_Nokia N97 2ADAPT OR DIE?: Publishers “have to adapt to the environment of mobile as that’s where the customers are going to be.  You can’t just write an iPhone or an iPad application and expect to hit the majority of the market. In the U.S. Android and RIM are huge markets publishers will need to address. “In the rest of the world, you definitely want to be on Nokia phones.” So, what should publishers chose? All of the above. “I think it would be ridiculous to say you write or produce a TV show that, for example, only runs on a Samsung TV.  So, it’s important that you’re able to run across all of these devices.

SECRET SAUCE: Handmark works with the existing content management system that the publishers have in place to make it simple to keep up to date with Android, iPhone, Blackberry and Java platforms. “Soon to be some new platforms that we’ll be covering as well.” Paul says getting media partners to market quickly is key. But, increasingly, media companies choose Handmark for assistance in distribution and monetization. In addition, Handmark also connects with publishers’ existing CRM systems, allowing it to recognize if a reader also has a connection to the publication (for example, an online subscription).

MARKET MOVES: “It’s moved much more to an audience building than it has been in the past.  In the past, we built an audience by knowing someone at a carrier or any of the other gatekeepers to those audiences.  Now, media brands have an extraordinary opportunity to put themselves right, front and center with their customers.” Paul likes to compare the pace of change in publishing to Amazon’s rise to the top. “Amazon established buying habits online years ago and it was very hard for existing retailers to come in later and displace the space that Amazon had taken.  We think the same thing can happen in mobile. If existing brands don’t jump in early enough, others will displace them. People are establishing their reading habits now. They’re dating somebody whether you’re there or not, and you need to make sure it’s you and you need to get out there.”

Listen to the podcast here. [14:26]


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