iOS Newsstand gives Future an e-publishing boost

The Association of Online Publishers reports that Future Publishing’s titles racked up over 2 millions Apple Newsstand downloads in the first four days of iOS 5’s release.

Future launched more than 50 titles on Newsstand when it launched on Thursday 13 October, making it the most prolific publisher in the space. The mix of free, paid-for and premium products has attracted north of two million downloads, and represents consumer spending well in excess of normal monthly revenues.

Future UK CEO Mark Wood says: “Future had sold more digital editions in the past four days through Apple’s Newsstand than in a normal month. It’s clear that Newsstand creates an amazing opportunity for publishers – and I’m committed to continue driving our brands through this great new distribution channel.

“We plan to include more sampler issues in every magazine container in coming weeks, as well as uploading high price-point bookazines and premium one-shot titles.”

Newsstand’s presentation style certainly makes electronic editions of magazines feel much more integrated into iOS in ways that iBooks, which originated the “bookshelf”-style look and feel Newsstand uses, does not. And despite the gnashing of teeth regarding Apple’s commission level and the lack of personal information publishers can receive about subscribers, the revenue implications should be more than welcome.

An Apprentice quick quiz: Who patronises the over 50s better?

In last night’s episode of The Apprentice, the two teams were asked to produce dummy magazines for an untapped market sector. One team – and look away now if you don’t want spoilers – suggested targeting the retired market with a magazine entitled Hip Replacement.

They lost. But not before being told by all and sundry that their approach to the market sector was demeaning and patronising.

And yet, what do I find inside my issue of The Guardian this morning? A supplement called Living Choices for the 50+. Which, if anything, makes Hip Replacement seem positively enlightened.

As a test, here are ten headlines. Five are from Hip Replacement, five from the insert that came with The Guardian. Can you tell which is which?

  1. Don’t forget the kids
  2. Health insurance: time to compare
  3. Taxing stuff
  4. Pension power
  5. Gas: comfort and safety
  6. Retirement enters a new age
  7. Don’t worry, be happy
  8. Ensure to insure
  9. Fit as a fiddle
  10. Age doesn’t come alone

Can you tell which is from the ‘patronising’, fictional Apprentice magazine, and which from the real-life supplement?

Answers below…

Continue reading “An Apprentice quick quiz: Who patronises the over 50s better?”

A 100-word biography

As I mention on my [About page](, I’ve recently been lucky enough to have received a commission for my first professional piece of fiction — a short story for an anthology based around a certain TV show.

The story itself has been approved, is currently being typeset and the (small but historic) cheque has long since been cashed. The book itself will be out in a few months, but today, my editor emailed me asking for a 100 word biography for the frontispiece.

Initially, I couldn’t really think of what to include. My name, of course. Great. Only 98 words to go. Beyond that, though, what? It’s not like I can do what many other writers do, and wax lyrical about their wife, three kids (mention them all by name, it all adds to the word count) and sounds-palatial-but-I’m-a-writer-so-it’s-rather-more-squalid-than-that house somewhere in the Home Counties. And as this will be my first fiction work, I can’t list any previous achievements in that field.

So I figured the best thing to do is to concentrate on what writing achievements I have made (establish my credentials), make a passing reference to the subject matter at hand (signifying that I do, in fact, know what I’m talking about) and end on a joke (so that it’s not completely dull).

So this is what I came up with:

> Scott Matthewman is Assistant Editor of The Stage, the British newspaper covering all aspects of the performing arts. In 2004, his website covering gay issues was named Best Political Weblog by The Guardian, and he now contributes on a regular basis to TV Today, The Stage’s blog about British television. He specialises in coverage of Saturday night entertainment, even when it doesn’t involve a time-travelling police box — although he remains convinced that musical theatre reality shows are part of a devious plan for world domination by aliens with jazz hands.
> Tell Me You Love Me is Scott’s first published fiction.

Fingers crossed that’ll do.