Man with iPad
Credit: C. Regina on Flickr. Some rights reserved.
Dennis Publishing, which produces The Week, Men's Fitness and Auto Express, has invested in app software startup Padify.

Dennis has a minority stake in the London-based start-up and is now using it as the design platform to create Men's Fitness for iPad.

Padify, which is completely integrated with the Men's Fitness content management system, allows designers to create page layouts suitable for a range of devices.

Content produced in Padify is rotated with the device and allows social sharing, bookmarking and copying text, with readers able to save recipes, for example.

Alex Watson, head of app development at Dennis, told Digital Media Strategies, a conference taking place in London, that Padify allows apps to be built which are not based on template layouts. He said templates suit some titles, but others benefit from a more tailored approach.

Padify allows "non-technical people" to change layouts. "It gives freedom to designers, but they are creating one layout for across the different screens," Watson told Journalism.co.uk.

Padify
Alex Watson shared one of his slides with Journalism.co.uk to explain Padify

As Padify is integrated into Dennis's content management system, designers and journalists can access the Padify editor from within the CMS and make changes, which are automatically saved.

During his talk at the conference, Watson said this is part of Dennis's strategy to "create once publish everywhere", explaining that the concept known as COPE is one adopted from National Public Radio (NPR).

Watson told publishers at the conference that they need to be on every device. “We cannot afford to design every single page for every orientation on every device,” he said.

The Week

Watson also shared some statistics, explaining The Week (which has a HTML5 hybrid app), has been downloaded more than 1 million times in the UK. He said that a total 11 million print copies are sold each year, explaining that there are 194,000 print readers and 45,000 app readers.

He said that digital ad revenue is 20 per cent of The Week’s total, and the app is around half that.

And The Week's audience is currently largely on iPad. In the last 30 days, 71 per cent of readers were consuming content on the iPad, 18 per cent on iPhone, 10 per cent on the Kindle Fire, and 1 per cent on the Nexus.

Watson urged other publishers to learn how to work out “what the job is to be done”. He said The Week saves people from reading a range of newspapers as it is a summary and therefore is "a service, not an artifact", and is thought of as a utility.

Advice for publishers from Google

Watson was sharing a platform with Madhav Chinnappa, head of strategic partnerships, Google News and Magazines.

Chinnappa said that Google's view is that "it’s all about the users" and believes it must continuously "experiment and iterate".

Chinnappa said this is something publishers could learn from, and be aware that "users want content all of the time, anywhere, on any device, and they want to interact with their favourite content".

"But it’s really difficult," he said, "as you are fighting for attention".

He said: "If we don’t experiment, if we don’t focus on the user, we could be left behind."

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