Northern & Shell Turns to Apps
British publishing company Northern & Shell is the owner of four national newspapers - the Daily Express, Sunday Express, Daily Star and Daily Star Sunday - as well as magazines including OK!, and the TV channels Channel 5, 5* and 5 USA.
Seeing a need to engage with current and potential readers on mobile, and to ensure its titles were reaching as broad an audience as possible, Northern & Shell saw the opportunity to offer content through a range of mobile apps.
The publisher chose to outsource development and distribution, due to the apparent cost and complexity of dealing with a number of fragmented platforms, and selected London-based developer Mippin.
Mippin built an app for each publication – initially for the mobile web, then natively on iPhone. The developer then used proprietary knowledge to replicate the design across Android, BlackBerry and Windows Phone. It also produced full-scale tablet versions, rather than rescaled versions of the smartphone app.
The 20 native apps – representing five titles across the four platforms – have seen a total 1.5m downloads, and various apps have placed in the top ten of their categories on iTunes and BlackBerry App World, and been ‘featured’ by BlackBerry and Microsoft.
The apps are receiving over 14m page views per month, with users spending an average ten minutes per session with the apps. BlackBerry proved to be the most popular platform, accounting for 65 per cent of total downloads in the last six months.
“Northern & Shell’s apps, particularly OK! Magazine, have proved hugely popular on BlackBerry App World,” says Gregor Park, RIM senior planning & marketing manager UK, applications. “Mippin developed strong, content-rich apps that have been very appealing to female BlackBerry users. From August 2011 to February 2012, over 450,000 Northern & Shell apps were downloaded by our customers."