This week, three leading media companies released unique new software applications in an effort to broaden their appeal to existing and new readers. Aiming to carve out new territory in the publishing industry, the companies -- Associated Newspapers Ltd., Forbes Inc. and Hearst Corp. -- have developed digital reader applications that enable consumers to experience newspaper and magazine content in new and engaging ways.
Using technology developed by Microsoft, the applications enable an enhanced on-screen reading experience by combining the “look and feel” of traditional print media with the advantages of interactivity previously reserved for the Web. These new applications support a range of features, such as allowing users to navigate story lists, toggle between articles, move from one section to another, and view picture galleries. In addition, the reader can view the downloaded content while offline, then go back online for continuous updates as stories change.
The three preview reader applications, along with a fourth solution released last year by The New York Times, are at the forefront of a new wave of products. All of the applications take advantage of Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF), the advanced graphics technology recently unveiled by Microsoft as part of the Windows Vista operating system. In order to further assist publishers in their efforts to bring their content to the digital world, Microsoft is also developing a publisher starter kit, which will make the same product development tools and best practices easily accessible to other publishers at no cost.
PressPass asked Dave Wascha, director of Windows Client Partner Marketing at Microsoft, to provide his perspective on these exciting new publishing opportunities and to discuss the implications that such applications have for content providers, consumers and advertisers in the digital publishing world.