Apple's German birth attendants


We were all waiting for the next big thing, the iPhone 5. Apple didn’t launched it, may be because of the battle with Samsung. But the customers are crazy: 4 million iPhones 4S’s sold in the first weekend. Not expected.

In the shadow of the hardware presentation a rising star was born: Newsstand, an exclusive iTunes Shop-in-Shop solution for publishers only, placed on the home screen. As in a traditional offline newsstand the content apps are presented by the current title page and not via a static logo.

A great new feature? The German publishers boycotted any participation in the newsstand. The main reason: “We will not be Apple’s birth attendants for such a feature and if no other publisher will be there it will fail!”

Apple successfully establishes marketplaces for music, gadget apps, games and video. The developers were happy because of the convenience and the huge Apple marketing machine which pushed so many users on these marketplaces.

The content business (newspapers and magazines) wasn’t so easy to conquer. The first iTunes results — downloads and purchases — were disappointing, the app development costs were too high. The launch of new news apps, especially for the iPad, increased. One of the reasons could be the number of games and gadgets which makes it not so easy to find newspapers and magazines in the App Store.

Following the example of iBooks Apple invented Newsstand to solve this problem. It should give the publishers the opportunity to reach their users easily and directly. A great idea and a great feature for publishers only. But the German publishers didn’t understand the message. They were afraid of this because in the past Apple always seemed to try to cut publishers’ positions and revenues. The publishers’ focus was on Apple’s goals and not on Apple’s iPhone or iPad users, crazy freaks which are looking for new features and entertainment and trying out all the new things.

German newspapers didn’t see the huge potential of this new marketplace because of the misguided goals. All German newspapers? No! There was one regional Berlin daily newspaper Der Tagesspiegel which was and still is providing the one and only news app in Newsstand.

The result: it was No. 2 in “Free Downloads” on iPhone and No. 5 on iPad — in all categories! This means more than 100,000 downloads of the Der Tagesspiegel iPhone App in the first 48 hours after the Newsstand launch. Not expected.

Publishers have their position misinterpreted. It’s not Apple that needs a birth attendant, but they themselves. Apple is a perfectly running marketing machine which has the ability to push the user to where ever they want to — sometimes the goals of their partners.

Be aware of what is coming next!

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