April 13, 2016 Last Updated 12:48 pm

MAZ launches Apple TV app platform, allowing publishing clients to launch video channels

The digital publishing platform’s new solution is called ‘Home’ and the company obviously believes there will be many new TV channel apps launched in the years to come

When Apple first launched the App Store in 2008, there was a trickle of new companies that started up to serve publishers who wanted to launch mobile apps. Many publishers were not yet convinced that the future may be some how connected to mobile, though there were a number of newspapers and magazines that made the jump.

But by 2010, especially with the launch of the iPad, the gold rush was on – though there proved to be more rush than gold. Nonetheless, the number of digital publishing platforms that began operations was certainly growing. Along with the new companies such as Mag+ and MAZ Digital, others that were already building apps such as DoApp began considering offering solutions for the tablet, as well.

AppleTV Forbes MAZBut as far back as 2012, possibly earlier, digital media observers wondered whether the next step Apple would take would be to launch an app store for the Apple TV. It seemed to make sense. This is what I wrote here in 2012 about that possibility:

When the iPad was first introduced in late January of 2010, I attempted to convey a sense of what this would mean for publishers. I reminded TNM readers that the real revolution of the iPhone, at least as far as publishers were concerned, did not occur until third party apps became possible. The iPad was launched already open to publishers. All a publisher had to do was become a serial launcher – that is, a developer of their own branded apps. I was then, and am today, completely convinced that publishers who can accomplish this task will be prepared for the radical changes to come…

…To say that the newspaper and magazine publishing world is a tad conservative is like saying that Roger Ailes rarely votes Democratic. Publishers have been slow to develop for mobile and tablet devices, though they not rejected the move entirely. Most companies have entered the new era kicking and screaming and eventually getting on board through the easiest and cheapest ways possible, mostly through third party vendors…

…Imagine, if you will, a video version of The Guardian’s Eyewitness app for the Apple TV. What about specialty channels? I’d download an Apple TV of the Minimalist, the NYT’s food column by Mark Bittman who, besides the text column, produces videos, as well. Hell, I’d watch Bittman all day.

But isn’t it possible to create a “Minimalist” channel now? Just launch a smartphone or tablet app that features Bittmann videos, right?

Exactly. Now you see what I mean when I said publishers should become serial launchers. If a publisher is able to create apps like this, the move to the TV is much easier.

I was actually genuinely excited about the possibility of publishers moving to TV. The future of TV was obviously the kinds of devices Apple was building, as evidenced by Amazon and Google’s entry into the market. So, wouldn’t that mean that publishers would be eager to jump on board?

Well, did traditional publishers become enthusiastic app developers? I guess you can answer that yourself, but I felt that it made sense that when the new Apple TV was launched that some of the digital publishing platforms would look at the opportunity and jump on board. I spoke to one native digital publishing platform and asked them if they were looking at that opportunity, but they were cautious. They were moving away from serving publishers (though they liked to be coy about that so as to not lose their existing clients) and were looking more towards the corporate communications market, one less likely to want a TV solution.

On Monday, one platform did announce that they were jumping into the Apple TV app market: MAZ.

MAZ was one of those companies launched in 2010, shortly after the launch of the original iPad. Their solution is PDF based, which is probably why they could see the possibilities: their digital publishing solution is about taking existing content and design and easily converting it to digital devices, why not do the same for the video content publishers have?

The MAZ’s solution is called Home and while the press release below only mentions the Apple TV, the website also mentions the Roku and Android, which possibly means they are looking to get publisher channels on to those TV platforms, as well.

The company’s CEO sounds like I did four years ago, seeing the TV market as having the same (or more) potential for publishers as mobile apps did.

Here is their announcement:

NEW YORK, NY – April 11, 2016 — MAZ, the New York City based startup whose platform has powered nearly one thousand mobile and tablet apps for media companies like Forbes, USA Today, Conde Nast, and Pearson, has released a new platform called Home, which enables any media provider to distribute their video content on Apple TV.

In many ways, Apple TV is reminiscent of the early days of iPhone, where the App Store enabled newer and smaller brands to emerge and establish an audience. Using MAZ’s Home platform, brands of any size can quickly and easily create apps with a fraction of the time and cost it would take with traditional custom development.

“There were phones before apps, but no one remembers them!” said MAZ CEO, Paul Canetti. “The way we thought about phones back then is the way we think about TV today. Apps are going to dramatically change that, and we want to make sure that anyone with video content can be at the forefront of that change”

Following on the heels of recent MAZ product releases like Wear, a platform for wearables such as the Apple Watch, Home is part of a larger strategy to empower brands to be in contact with their customers throughout the day. Consumers are switching screens throughout their day, and brands should strive to be accessible anytime, anywhere.

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