September 1, 2015 Last Updated 8:25 am

Investors Chronicle updates iOS, Android apps, launching native digital editions for both tablets and smartphones

Published by The Financial Times Ltd, recently acquired by Japan’s largest media company, the app now uses the Pugpig platform to create its mobile and tablet editions

Back in 2011 the Financial Times made headlines on tech sites when it quietly pulled its app from the Apple App Store over a disagreement over subscriber information. Apple would not pass on its customer information, and the FT justifiably believed (and probably still does) that these were their customers, too, so they needed to know who they were.

“We removed the app after amicable discussions with Apple,” said an FT spokesman at the time. “iTunes will remain an important channel for new and existing advertising-based apps.”

IC-iPhone-iPadThat original app was launched in May of 2010 and TNM’s own report on the app was highly favorable: “There is much to like about this FT iPad app. For instance, the reader can download the current day’s edition for easy offline reading, but can then return to the live edition at the click of a button. This is a perfect option for business travelers who will be able to download their newspapers before boarding their flights, then read their newspapers without the need of an Internet connection.”

While the FT pulled its app, The Wall Street Journal and The Economist remained inside the App Store, and later the Newsstand. All three financial publications have done well with their digital circulation – proof that business publications are more able to charge readers for their news and information because readers see a financial benefit from the content.

But the withdrawal of the FT app from the App Store, as the spokesman said, did not mean that the publication was not dedicated to creating apps. A look inside iTunes shows five iPhone apps, and seven iPad apps. One of those apps received a major update late last week.

Investors Chronicle is a weekly magazine, published every Friday, which has digital edition apps available for both iOS and Android. Until last week, the app presented readers with a PDF replica edition of the magazine (see below-left).

But the version 15.0 update changes all that, presenting readers with a native digital edition for both mobile and tablet devices. The new app is now using the Pugpig digital publishing platform from Kaldor.

IC-old-iPadThe magazine has a long history, being able to trace its roots back to 1860, to a publication called the Money Market Review. A number mergers have occurred over the year, and now the magazine is being published as part of The Financial Times Ltd, which was recently bought by the Japanese publisher Nikkei £844 million, ending Pearson’s 58-year ownership of the FT.

“The new app offers the full weekly magazine, supplemented with relevant digital content and markets data,” Maxim Lamond, Product Manager of the Investors Chronicle said. “It is also the first time our readers will be able to get the magazine on a mobile and tablet device of their choice. This is something we are very excited about.”

ic-iconThe iOS app is currently inside the Apple Newsstand and so currently uses the most recent cover as its icon. This will, of course, change when iOS 9 is released later this month. One assumes that the app will then sport an icon like that seen inside Google Play (seen here).

The app opens to the latest cover of the print edition, giving one the impression that this may remain a replica. But once opened everything changes. The digital edition is now much easier to read, no matter what device is being used. This is a good example of why native digital editions are generally superior, and why using a platform that can create a smartphone edition that is enjoyable to read is a good idea – at least from the reader’s perspective.

Each story is laid out in a similar fashion, making this very much like a digital edition one might see that uses 29th  Street Publishing or TypeEngine. The stories contain convenient links back to the website to access additional, related articles. On the iPad these links are seen on the right side of the page, while on the iPhone they are in-column.

One cute design device used is to change the color of the top navigation bar as the reader progresses from section to section. It should also be pointed out the app has all the article sharing tools one now expects in a digital edition. (It has been a long time since I’ve mentioned this as it has become an expected feature on all digital edition apps today.)

What is missing from this first edition available, though, is the advertising, though I see no reason why the digital edition could not include the full page print ads to create a hybrid edition. Another option would be to sell a single sponsorship.

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