April 10, 2015 Last Updated 9:50 am

FIFA updates iPad app ahead (way ahead) of World Cup 2018; iTunes update compliments Photos app launch

Morning Brief: the negative sales message of some digital publishing platforms and digital newsstands tell many publishers to leave their digital to others, concentrate on print

The governing body that thought having the next two World Cups in Russia and Qatar was a good idea, FIFA, today updated its iPad app. The update now makes the app work in Russian, something you might have thought the developers would have thought about long before today, but then maybe they were just as stunned by the selection as everyone else.

FIFA-RussianThe update comes just two days following a column by veteran Sports Illustrated columns Frank Deford. Deford fills the need for the occasional anti-soccer column written, generally around the time of the World Cup. There is absolutely nothing original about the idea that Americans will never, never, ever embrace soccer – despite all evidence to the contrary. Deford’s angle, somewhat original, is that American’s don’t like soccer (again, despite all evidence to the contrary) because American’s must be number one, and we’ll never be number one at soccer.

“Soccer in America has a curious impediment to its popularity, and the problem is soccer — that is, everybody else’s soccer,” Deford writes.

“After all, Americans not only believe that we are the blessed exceptional, but that we have the divine right to always have the most exceptional entertainment right at our fingertips. The British Empire, theatrical division, seems to have taken up residence here. And hey, nobody has any problem with immigration if you’re a baseball, basketball or hockey player.”

So, the argument goes, unless the U.S. can be better at something we just won’t care about it. Sounds like he is talking about his own feelings, not those of his fellow Americans. After all, the U.S. is not the number one hockey nation, yet the NHL has been around since 1917. You could easily argue that American baseball is not first, as the U.S. regularly fails to win the baseball World Cup (the most recent champion was The Netherlands, yes The Netherlands).

If Deford came across as old and out of touch, just as all columnist do when they pen these utterly predictable tirades against soccer, remember this: it was a great piece of click bait. Well done, Mr. Deford.

iTunes-getinfoApple issued an update to iTunes yesterday that is tied to the release of the new Photos app. I suppose it is odd that the update was not issued at the same time as Mac OS X update and iOS 8.3, but I suppose they want to stagger these updates and make sure they are installed in a certain order.

The description for the update also mentions refinements for the Get Info. Following the update I didn’t really see any changes, though the feature has certainly improved recently (though iTunes itself remains a relic). But the update did give me an excuse to provide a screenshot of Get Info for a song by one of my favorite artists, Abe Rábade.

The update also has given me a chance to think more about why it is that Apple has abandoned its own Newsstand and I have concluded that the reason is likely to be simply that Eddy Cue and company are simply listening to the wrong people. The App Store management has most likely heard voices from those in the industry the future of digital magazines is unlimited subscription services, and since Apple likely will not enter that area, they should simply let things decay and eventually they can dump the Newsstand quietly.

This is the sort of negative message I hear all the time. Of those digital platforms and digital newsstands that sell to publishers, the majority of them actually use a negative sales message:

Digital edition sales are terrible. You, Mr. Publisher, shouldn’t be wasting your time with your digital editions. Just produce a PDF, give it to us, and we’ll place it in our newsstand and sell it, sending you a few pennies every once in a while. Meanwhile, you concentrate on print.

Lots of publishers love it: it is a variation of the cheap and easy message used to sell those Flash flipbooks, which amazingly I still see out there. Publishing executives, who go on investor conference calls and play up their digital efforts, love to hear how the whole thing is a farce – that the past, the present and the future is all about print. Hell, go to any industry event and somewhere there will be scheduled a talk by someone, often with a trademark symbol after their name, that is there to tell them that they really don’t have to adapt to a changing market, that it is all an illusion.

But just as there is a whole generation of TV viewers growing up watching television via mobile devices and entertainment systems, there is also a whole generation of readers growing up reading digital material on their smartphones and tablets. Ignore them at your peril.

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