March 1, 2012

IProduction Announces App Support Services

The explosive adoption of iPads, iPhones and other mobile devices has reached a critical installed base that has signaled a green light for publishers to invest in these platforms as delivery channels.  Publishing on mobile devices is currently a “Wild Wild West” of evolving technologies, lack of standards, and competing vendors.

The core of publishing on these platforms remains the same as organizing a print product.  The follow questions must be answered:

How to I present my product on a mobile device and what is the reader experience?

How do I sell the mobile product?

How do I deliver the mobile product?

How do I update the product?

How do I renew a mobile subscription product?

IProduction has been conducting research for several years to help answer these question.

IProduction currently manages conversion architecture, product sales, and paid content access control for hundreds of web based sites and products.  IProduction also provides content management that produces web pages, syndicates content to third parties, and provides XML content feeds to millions of readers.   All of these capabilities are required to integrate an App into the publishers sales process, the fulfillment systems, and editorial flow processes.

Through a number of App development projects with different App developers and App platforms, IProduction has developed a suite of features to support App publishing.

This document describes these features.

Sales of App Delivered Product

Publishers have mature sales processes for selling subscriptions, white papers, books, and other products.  IProduction publishers have evolved this process from a traditional direct mail selling print model to a digital marketing program where most orders are accepted through the web.  When Apps are introduced where the distribution of the App is controlled by a software publisher, how does the publisher retain the direct relationship with the customer?

Products that are published as iBooks or as Kindle books will be sold and delivered by Apple or Amazon.  This is an easy method of entering the mobile environment through the e-reader channel.  The trade off is that the publisher looses the direct relationship with customer.  This model is good for books but falls short for a subscription or continuity product.  The publisher also looses the ability to cross-market to e-book customers.

The App is Free - You Pay for the Content

If the publisher chooses to maintain a direct relationship with the customer and have the ability to “Renew” a product, an App for the publication that is tied to the sales conversion architecture and the fulfillment system is the answer.  Providing the App as free or offering a Free Trial will allow the publisher to Navigate Apple or Googles App distribution requirements while allowing the publisher to manage the customer relationship and the revenue directly.

To support this, IProduction has an Application Programming Interface (API) to our conversion architecture platform to communicate directly with Apps.  This interface allows the App to accept a login that is communicated to the publisher’s website to authenticate the reader. 

In this example, a reader has purchased a subscription through the publisher’s websites conversion architecture.  The final purchase page provides a link to download the App.  Here is an example of the reader flow to access the product.

When the App icon is selected, the opening brand page is presented.

At the first access, the reader is asked to login in.

The Sign In option will access the iProduction API and request the authentication for the reader.  The API accesses the reader’s active subscription information and grants access or redirects the reader to a “Renewal” flow if the subscription has expired.

When the reader is active, the App content is presented.

Selling a Subscription Through the App

When the subscription is sold through the App, Apple or Google will process the transaction.  Here is an example of the flow.

In this example, the free trial option will communicated to IProduction through the API and the access will be opened.


In the paid option, an Apple ID is required and the reader will be charged by Apple.  The publisher must request information from the reader to set up the subscription.

This information is sent to the iProduciton API and the account is created and the order is communicated to the fulfillment system.  The reader can also be opted into the requested e-newsletters and promotional marketing lists.

App Digital Rights Management and Access Control

The App can present one or more paid content components.  These can be pay per view items or subscription items.  When the App is loaded, an IProduction API will be used to authenticate the reader’s access to content and communicate access right to the App.  If an expire has occurred, IProduction will route the reader to the next conversion architecture step.

Updating App Content

The next set of APIs available to the App relate to acquiring content.  With periodicals, new issues and news updates are needed on a regular basis.  These APIs includes lists of new content and the XML of new content including all the attributes of the content, topics, categories, pictures, and other multimedia assets.

The App will use this content to update the reader’s view.  Many Apps also cache this content so that the App will function when not connected to the Internet.