The MAZ Blog

Updates and thoughts about technology, media, apps, and entrepreneurship - written by the MAZ team.

MAZ 2015 in Review

Every year we reflect on how our apps have grown in user engagement and publisher revenue. We are happy to report some big increases over the last year across over 1,000 apps powered by MAZ.

In 2015 we saw a 50% increase in issue downloads, a 54% increase in session duration time, and a 57% increase in sales — indicating that dedicated users are buying more, spending more time, and engaging with digital content more than ever.

Eliminating Newsstand gave apps the chance to stand alone on valuable mobile and tablet screen real estate. Mobile usage continued to rise, while tablet usage declined. We anticipate this trend to continue and expand to new device types such as Apple Watch and Apple TV through 2016 & beyond.

Here’s to another great year!

Tags: Apple, Apps, Digital, MAZ, Mobile, Publishing, TV, Watch, Wearables, Web

Introducing Wear: Your App on Apple Watch

We are proud to launch Wear, our first wearable app platform starting with Apple Watch.

Wear allows brands to reach their audience on the most personal screen there is – truly allowing for effortless accessibility and discoverability of new content.

We believe that just like mobile before it, the power of wearables can shift the media space all over again. Be among the first to have powerful and engaging apps in the Apple Watch App Store.

Read our full press release, and to learn how to add Wear to your publication, contact us today!

Tags: Apple, Apps, Brand, Content, Digital, MAZ, Magazines, Mobile, Publishing, Subscription, Watch, Wearable, Wearables, Web, Websites, iOS9

6 Reasons to Work at a Startup

Over the past few years, #StartupLife has manifested an air of glorification that working for one leads to unlimited office kegs and coffee, doggie co-workers, relaxed time off, and so forth. I’m not here to debunk the myth, but to build on the real perks of working at a startup.

1) Learning to be your own boss: If you’re part of a small team and you don’t have unlimited resources, chances are you are more often than not in charge of yourself and your time. This is both a daunting and amazing challenge to revere. Consider time management and priority setting two new skills to add to your resume.

2) Business is hard: This may sound trite, but there are high highs and low lows. If you have ever had interest or desire in starting your own business, there’s a ton to soak up when you’re part of a company that could sink or swim any quarter. A lot of decisions in terms of product and pipelines will evolve in order to meet business goals. These core business lessons are perhaps the most valuable if you are able to be involved.

3) Innovation really happens over coffee: The number of times I’ve walked into the office and seen the business development team huddled over bagels and coffee at 10am recreating our pricing plan or discussing the pitch of a product that hasn’t been developed is immeasurable. Important discussions rarely happen in meetings and more often when the mood strikes.

4) Learn to love new hats: If 1) doesn’t resonate with you, then this may not be your cup of tea. Building on 2), when products change, so do roles and focus. The job you sign up for in the first place may not exist 6 months later, but if you’re open to learning your next new skill set, then you will thrive.

5) Creativity is your best friend: Bouncing off 4), when your job changes, your best friend will be the creative spin you bring to something you know nothing about. When products and goals change, even your superiors or founders will be on a learning curve, bringing a fresh inventiveness will be welcomed with many thumbs up emojis.

6) Avoiding burnout is necessary: At the end of each day or week, it often feels like you’ve worked a lifetime. Though an exaggeration, this type of go go go can really zap your energy. While being the best employee you can be, it’s also incredibly important to have a smart balance to it all.

Carolyn Canetti heads up Marketing at MAZ. She originally wrote this for TechDay, see original post here.

Tags: Business, Creativity, Digital, Innovation, Jobs, MAZ, Management, Office, Roles, Startup

Introducing Fusion: Web + Magazine Apps

We are proud to introduce Fusion, a new hybrid product that combines your brand’s magazine and web content into a single app experience, optimized for each and every device.

Fusion was built for mobile first to increase retention and drive stronger engagement to grow your mobile user base. Fusion is also available for Apple Watch, enabling your brand to be truly available on every screen.

Tags: Apple, Apps, Brand, Content, Digital, Feeds, Fusion, Hybrid, MAZ, Magazines, Mobile, Optimization, Publishing, RSS, Subscription, Watch, Web, Websites, iOS9

Start-Up Culture on Fleek: Our Summer Internship

As our internship comes to an end (so sad), we thought it would be fun to share our thoughts on our past ten weeks here at MAZ. It’s safe to say that this internship has not only been educational, but incredibly fun as well.

One of the biggest highlights of interning at MAZ this summer was being able to be part of its incredible company culture. Although MAZ is past its start-up days (just celebrated our fifth year!), it still manages to retain an inviting and innovative environment that entrepreneurial start-ups are so well-known for.

The first thing we learned was that MAZ is not a job. Instead of being in a ‘typical’ career – one in which you work 9 to 5 and the end goal (for the most part) is profit, MAZ employees are genuinely driven by innovation and ambition. They are propelled by the belief in building a truly inventive product, and everyone is equally passionate about moving the company forward together.

With the New York team only consisting of 8 people, a beloved dog (Gordo!), and an endless supply of gummy bears, the office environment is also incredibly collaborative. People aren’t afraid to throw out ideas, assist each other if needed, and nobody’s job title was exclusively theirs. As interns, we never felt as though we were bossed around, for nobody acted superior. On the contrary, our input was encouraged, welcomed, and even enacted.

Another important aspect of MAZ we came to appreciate immensely was its non-hierarchical environment. Even as summer interns, we were always part of the team; our ideas were not only heard, but implemented as well. With weekly tasks like co-producing a podcast (PubTech Nation, check it out!), creating mailers, and publisher vetting, the work we contributed were not assignments in college – they were projects that helped shaped both the present and future of a company.

However, best of all, the fun didn’t stop outside the office. Between the NYC Tech Meetup and our All Team Fun Day at the Frying Pan, we truly felt like we were part of a family. Work lunches included an enormous amount of pizza (that we may or may not have consumed half of) and bagel breakfasts on the roof were an absolute must. We quickly realized that MAZ is a work hard, play hard type of company, and that everyone was every bit as driven to have fun as they were to succeed in their jobs.

P.S. Not only did we teach them how to ‘whip and nae nae’ but we also got everyone to use the term ‘on fleek’. You’re welcome, MAZ.

Thanks for an unforgettable summer, MAZ. Stay on fleek, always.

May & Alisha

May and Alisha return to their respective college campuses this fall. But if you’re interested in staying hip with the kids, follow them on Twitter at @alishadesai11 and @mayzou.

Tags: Apps, Culture, Digital, Education, Fleek, Innovation, Interns, Internship, Life, MAZ, NYC, Office, Publishing, Start-Up, Summer

Seven Trends That Prove Digital Publishing Is Thriving

We’ve read the headlines: digital publishing is on a decline, and user engagement is poor. But we beg to differ. In a data study of over 1,000 apps, our results show 7 positive trends in key areas of user acquisition and engagement that will continue to keep apps profitable for publishers and relevant for readers.

Can’t argue with these results. See your app grow with the ever changing digital publishing market, contact us today!

Tags: Acquisition, Apps, Conversion, Digital, Engagement, MAZ, Magazines, Metrics, Newsstand, Publishing, Revenue, Sales, Storefront, Trends, Users, iOS, iOS9

The Trick Used by Spotify, Dropbox and Hulu Plus to Increase in App Purchases

Publishers are always looking for unique ways to increase mobile app subscribers, especially paid ones.

The freemium strategy, which entices readers with a limited amount of free content before asking them to pay, is one way to do that. The model popularized by apps such as Spotify, Hulu Plus, Dropbox and Candy Crush is being adopted by magazine publishers on a regular basis.

You have to see it to believe it. Check out the infographic!

Tags: Access, Apps, Conversion, Digital, MAZ, Magazines, Publishing, Rates, Revenue, Sales, Storefront, Timed, iOS

Why You Are Wrong About Apple Watch Not Being an Insanely Huge Deal

I literally do not understand how people that lived through Exhibit A: iPhone and Exhibit B: iPad still think the Apple Watch is going to flop.

Not only is it not going to flop, but it is going to create an entirely new market, imitated and sought after from every direction. i.e. change the y, not the x

I know, because when Exhibit B happened and iPad was announced on January 27, 2010, my life completely changed. I had left my job at Apple about a year prior and had been doing some freelance iPhone app design, so I knew a bit about iOS development. Like many, when the iPad was initially unveiled, I was underwhelmed.

We collectively choose to block out all our scathing predictions about the iPad (funny that’s still possible on the internet), but there were a lot. I’m guilty of it too– at first, I thought it seemed silly, redundant, and not that exciting. I was wrong.

I was so wrong that after realizing the err of my ways, I swung hard the other way and started a company called MAZ, a software platform that publishers use to produce apps for, you guessed it, iPad. (and now also for iPhone, Android devices, Kindle Fire, HTML5, etc.)

I, a normal person who had never built a software company before, teamed up with two other normal people, and we created a company from the ground up that has been used to produce over a thousand live apps, serves millions of end users, and generates millions of dollars.

Think about how many other companies were founded around the same time as a result of the iPad. The entire category of tablet just didn’t exist before that. Now 47% of all adults own one. HALF OF ALL GROWNUPS OWN A TABLET AND LESS THAN FIVE YEARS AGO THAT WASN’T A THING.

Say what you will about tablet growth vs. smartphone growth (or should it be vs. PC growth?), but I am just illustrating the point that a new type of device hit the mass consumer market and created a multi-billion dollar industry in a very short period of time. And that industry is not just about selling tablets (although $27.8 billion in iPad sales last year doesn’t exactly suck); it’s also all the app developers, content creators, service providers, and ultimately the people that use and love this amazing thing that didn’t used to exist.

We had seen it before with the iPhone. And we will see it again with the Apple Watch.

I’ve lived through it. A completely new paradigm like this opens up a world of opportunity for completely new ideas, new products, new companies, new ways of thinking about old problems (and creating new problems that will need solving too!). We simply can’t imagine all the ways the world will change in the next five years as a result of the Apple Watch and the shockwaves it will produce.

All I know is that I’m going to try to ride the wave again. I suggest you do too, because you are going to look pretty dumb pulling your phone out of your pocket to read my “I told you so” tweet.

Read original article on Medium.

Paul Canetti is Founder and CEO of MAZ. Follow him on Twitter @paulcanetti.

Tags: Apple, Apps, Devices, Digital, MAZ, Magazines, Medium, Publishing, Watch, iOS, iPad, iPhone

Timed Access Increases Conversions, Sales, and Revenue for Publishers Across iOS Apps

We recently released what we call our ‘Timed Access’ feature of the MAZ digital publishing platform. It grants any app users to an all access, unrestricted preview of each issue for a duration of time that each publisher chooses. We replaced what was previously a limited page (usually 10 pages or less) less real estate (about 60% of the screen) crippled (no enhancements made with our links tool in MAZControl) preview version of the content.

With every new feature we release comes the responsibility to measure it’s impact on our publishers and their end users. We have to ask meaningful questions: Does the feature increase engagement with publishers apps? Does the feature increase the number of app users? Is there an increase single issue and subscription sales for our publishers? Is there improvement in app download to issue/subscription sales conversion?

When developing Timed Access, we had several goals for it:

1) Improve the conversion rate of app downloads to content downloads.

Since almost all of the MAZ apps are free, and most of the content/subscriptions in the apps cost money, there will always be a contingency of users who download free apps and are then deterred when faced with a pay wall for content. However, if we could increase the rate of conversion from app download to sales for our publishers through our new fully immersive previewing experiences, then we’d consider it a big win. After taking a long hard look at the numbers, we found that there were 60% more content downloads per app download in January (when a overwhelming majority of users had the ‘Timed Access’ version of the apps on their devices) when compared to October (before we released ‘Timed Access’).

2) Create more individual content sales opportunities for our publishers.

At the end of the Timed Access preview period for a given piece of content, we invite the customer to buy the issue for a special price, and in some cases to purchase a discounted subscription. When we crunched the numbers on how this impacted single issue revenue, again from January to October, we saw a 74% increase! I know what you are thinking, that’s too big from just a single feature being released, but rest assured that % increase is adjusted to reflect the number of iOS apps live in the app store. It’s a very real increase, and is resulting in very real dollars being passed along to the majority of our publishers.

3) Increase in subscription revenue for our publishers.

After all, if our publishers aren’t making money, then we aren’t making money. We took a look at the number of digital subscribers month over month prior-to-and-up-to the market saturation of the Timed Access functionality. When we looked at the numbers from January to October, we saw a 12% increase in subscription revenue.

Overall, we couldn’t be more happy with the results of the Timed Access feature being included in all the iOS MAZ apps. It’s features like this that MAZ is proud of bringing to market for our publishers and really driving the standard for digital publishing platforms into the future. It’s always a calculated risk releasing a new and groundbreaking feature, and we are lucky to have some of the best publishers in the world supporting our platform and putting their trust in the MAZ team and our products. Thank you for sharing the risk and the rewards with us, after all our successes are your success and your successes are ours.

Simon Baumer is a Founder and CIO of MAZ. Follow him @simonbaumer. Carolyn Canetti is Marketing Manager. Follow her @ccanetti.

Tags: Access, Apps, Conversion, Digital, MAZ, Magazines, Publishing, Rates, Revenue, Sales, Storefront, Timed, iOS