App Product Development: Aftenposten’s Discovery, Nail It and Scale It

How do you design and build a new app? It’s something that we think a lot about in my new(ish) role at Pugpig as their consulting services director. INMA highlights a couple of frameworks used by successful publishers, Schibsted’s Aftenposten and the Financial Times. The first thing I would highlight is that product development needs to involve your entire organisation – editorial, commercial,marketing and technical. These examples are important and useful in that they cover two important elements of the product process, organisational alignment efforts and voice-of-the-user efforts. 

Speaking of apps, has highlighted a report from the US Department of Commerce that calls on Congress to pass legislation that opens up app stores by forcing Apple and Google to open up additional paths for app developers to get onto users phones. Both in the EU and now the US, we’re seeing efforts to allow for alternative app stores or sideloading. 

App product development and opening up the app stores

Two great case studies on how to develop successful apps from Schibsted’s Aftenposten and the Financial Times. Product managers represent the voice of the user, and in the best managed organisations are empowered to bring various internal stakeholders into alignment through a clear set of goals that help them manage trade offs. That sums up quite a bit about what I learned in master’s in innovation management. It can sound like a simple process, and once an organisation has a structure in place, it can run quite smoothly. But as multiple studies and the experience of product managers in media companies have found, it is this transition to an orderly process that is a tremendous challenge. Schibsted and the FT are the promised land, but for a lot of publishers, product management can definitely feel like an arduous journey in the wilderness. 

In a report by the US Department of Commerce, the Biden Administration says that developers face “significant hurdles” to compete with their mobile apps and that these choices are largely due to decisions made by the companies that control the platforms rather than legitimate technical issues. It has called on Congress to create legislation to open up the app market, which Democratic senators tried to do with proposed legislation in 2021. The upshot is that Apple and Google might be forced to be allow more sideloading, and with Republicans gunning for the major platforms as much as Democrats are, it might be one of the few areas of agreement by fractious parties in the US. 

Digiday’s outlook for the events sector for 2023 and what drives retention more: annual or monthly subs?

Digiday has a couple of excellent pieces today looking at the events pillar of media businesses. While anxiety still persists, publishers in the US are seeing a healthy opportunity for a revived events business. The US economy definitely looks in good health, and if it can manage to tame inflation, then 2023 can be quite a good year.

And retention is definitely a major theme this year for publishers. In a media roundup, they briefly look at whether monthly or annual subscriptions are more effective. 

Media News: A retrospective on algorithms, the podcast winter and Gannett kills comments (with little notice for its publications)

Markup editor Julia Angwin looks back at her tenure at the helm and offers up a meditation on Algorithmic Age. It’s actually not just about algorithms but also her approach to journalism, especially data-driven journalism. 

The drop off in the creation of new podcasts has been reported before. Frankly, I think that this speaks as much to a decline in disposable time once pandemic lockdowns ended – not just for listening to podcasts but more important for creating them. It was easy to launch a new podcast when we were all home bound. Now that life is returning to normal, who has the time? Discuss. 

Social Media Roundup: TikTok outlines new ‘strikes’ system for moderation and a day in the drama around Twitter

TikTok has a new way to manage ‘repeat offenders’. It’s not just a game of whack-a-mole about each case but looking for a pattern of behaviour. 
Twitter might have yet another new competitor, T2, that wants to take its crown. I think it speaks to the space that Musk has opened up as he runs Twitter in such an unfocused way. He has given existing competitors and new entrants the space to challenge the platform. 

Speaking of its lastest ‘let’s throw spaghetti at the wall and see what sticks’ idea, Musk is now floating the idea of charging brands up to $1000 a month for their golden tick. Well, if he can come up with a way that it can’t be hijacked easily, he might have a business model. 

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