May 11, 2015 Last Updated 8:36 am

MediaShift leaves PBS home July 1; App Publisher magazine to be shuttered

Morning Brief: NYT Now mobile app goes free, sponsored at its relaunch by Delta Airlines, app still encourages readers to subscribe to get the Morning Briefing

The digital media insight website MediaShift, aligned with PBS since its launch in 2006, will break away and be hosted separately at beginning July 1.

Mark Glaser, founder of MediaShift, made the announcement through the journalism blog rather than through the MediaShift website itself. According to Glaser, PBS stopped funding the website at the start of 2014, but the team decided to stay aligned with PBS until now.

mediashift-flag“At one point, we split revenues on ad sales, and they do sell into our top banner ad slot,” Glaser told Romenesko. “But we have been financially independent from PBS for the past 18 months and done well selling our own site sponsorships, email newsletter sponsorships, podcast sponsorships, social media sponsorships, events, workshops and now online learning modules (DigitalEd, in partnership with J-schools).”

The site began with just Glaser blogging but the site added on staff over time, though it has always been under contract with PBS as an independent entity, though PBS had final editorial control which Glaser said they rarely exercise. “We’ve had a large amount of autonomy there.”

“I really appreciate everything PBS has done to support us over the years, but with so many changes in management there, it was difficult to stay aligned in our missions,” Glaser said. “Their mission is basically to find the next Downton Abbey, and ours is to wonder why we have to watch Downton Abbey on TV at all.”

The digital magazine App Publisher, which was launched in Janaury of last year, will be shuttered, its publisher Paul Blake has decided. The move comes after two issues have appeared in 2015 and the magazine began a content partnership with TNM.

APP-PUB-cover6-April2015bApp Publisher was one of the very few attempts to create a native digital publication for the media business. Published from the UK, the digital-only magazine used the TypeEngine digital publishing platform to create a simply designed magazine that worked well on both the iPhone and iPad.

But while downloads and issue purchases spiked at launch, the magazine – like many others – has not been able to sustain an adequate revenue stream to justify the effort needed to continue publishing.

“I started the magazine almost accidentally,” wrote Paul Blake in a post that will appear later this morning. “When I came to research launching a digital magazine about the county in the UK I’d just moved to, I couldn’t find any coherent, practical advice on how to approach the task. As I’d written in the past about digital publishing, a magazine with a particular emphasis on publishing content onto apps and mobile felt like it might be a worthwhile endeavor and might also find a small but appreciative paying audience.”

“Eighteen months later I can say that App Publisher did find a small but appreciative paying audience, but it just wasn’t big enough to justify all the time and effort involved in putting the magazine together.”

NYTNow-free-iPhoneThe New York Times today updated its low-end mobile phone app, now called NYT Now—Your Guide to the News, taking the app to free as previously announced.

In essence, the app is now the website-lite, offering a selection of the newspaper’s website content without fear of running into the paywall. The business model will now be to sell sponsorships and mobile advertising. At launch of the free version of the app, the ad team was able to bring in as the sponsor Delta Airlines.

What’s New in Version 2.0.0

  • The app is now completely free. You can read unlimited articles — no need for a paid subscription.
  • The newest articles are highlighted at the top of the news feed.
  • Subscribe to the Morning Briefing and receive an alert when it’s ready.
  • Share screenshots of story summaries to get your friends caught up quickly, too.
  • Redesigned cards tell you what’s happening clearly and simply.
  • And now with 1Password support.

Publishers Weekly tracks the growth of Amazon Publishing, quoting Jeff Belle, V.P. of Amazon Publishing as sayign the online retailer will publish as many as 2,000 titles in 2016. The retailer-now publisher’s efforts skew heavily towards eBooks, however, as many bookstores still continue to refuse to stock Amazon’s print books.

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