DMS ’10: iPad a Game Changer for Publishers

Many have hailed Apple’s iPad as a salvation for publishers, and rapid adoption unequivocally certifies that it is indeed a “killer app.” But what opportunities exist for Yellow Pages providers to marry their deep content and established brands with iPad’s unique assets?

Yellowbook VP of Digital Media Mike Wilson, Yellow Magic CEO Ron Mintle and WillowTree Apps Founder Michael Prichard explored the possibilities that iPad introduces during a panel discussion at DMS ’10, addressing iPad from three distinct perspectives: Yellow Pages publisher, software provider and application developer.

Yellowbook is the first YP publisher to feature an iPad app, and Wilson underscored that the device is already a “leading member” of the company’s mobile portfolio because of its volatile growth and easy-to-use interface. Listings are easily geolocated, and all services, including watching video and posting reviews, are embedded within the application for optimal navigation. Naturally, Yellowbook’s app also capitalizes on social media sharing functions and closes the purchase loop even farther by linking to Skype to contact to businesses directly.

Mintle’s Yellow Magic incorporates distribution by replicating the print book as an iPad PDF in which all features are “hot” (click to link, click to call) and a variety of advertising options can be readily integrated (splash screens, inserted ad pages, banners). It also offers a sales force automation system for the device. This software package enables directory services to transfer a sales representative’s office in full to the iPad, including everything from contracts to proofs to revenues.

Prichard saw business management solutions such as Yellow Magic as an area of significant opportunity for iPad. Of the six attributes that distinguish it, he suggested that Yellow Pages is imminently positioned to take advantage of geolocation. In both Wilson’s and Mintle’s examples, however, iPad’s touch, ease of use, “always on” and portability trademarks are also front and center.

As for monetizing the iPad opportunity, past experiences with mobile suggest that it is commonly treated as added value, or at best, an upsell layered on top of bundled advertising packages. But Wilson emphasized that mobile is coming out of its purely experimental phase and that “the time for it to act as a standalone for monetization has arrived.”

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