April 28, 2014 Last Updated 7:49 am

Media apps: IMDB adds TV listings, Amazon Prime lists to iOS app; Future plc starts updating its 70 Newsstand apps

Oyster begins referral program to attract new customers

The TV guide used to be an important supplement to the Sunday edition of every metro newspapers. But years ago newspapers realized no one needed it anymore, not with the growth of cable with their own built-in guides. But that is not stopping IMDB from adding TV listings to their mobile apps.

screen568x568More interesting, though, may be the addition of Amazon Prime listings – a list of everything that is available on the streaming service. And, if the user already has the Amazon Prime app installed on their device, the user can tap to open that app and begin streaming what they find.

Oyster, the subscription based eBook reading service, is trying to drive new subscriptions by adding a referral program. Members give a $15 credit when they give away a $15 credit to a friend and that friend signs up.

The service costs $9.99 a month and gives the reader unlimited access to over 200,000 books (with the inventory growing all the time). Because of this, it has been called the Netflix of books.

I wondered who might like this service. I mean, we all like to read, right? But who does an unlimited reading service appeal to?

A lot of readers, it appears. One the perfect customer might be my daughter, who devours cheap novels each month, and currently does so through Amazon. The books she downloads are already cheaply priced, generally Kindle editions, and so this makes those books even cheaper.
Future plc, which has 70 apps currently in the Apple Newsstand, has started another round of app updates. The publisher uses its own platform, FutureFolio, to produce their digital editions – a mix of native and replica editions.

Among the titles updated are Photography Week, the digital-only photography magazine, and its most popular title in the US App Store, Mac Life Magazine.

The app descriptions say that updates “include new iOS 7 aesthetics and improved app stability” – rarely have I seen the words iOS 7 and stability in the same sentence.

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