The MAZ Blog

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

Introducing Home: Your App on Apple TV

We are pleased to announce that Home, our Connected TV platform is live and in action, beginning with Apple TV.

Home enables brands of any size to easily create apps to bring their video content into the living room.

We believe that apps for Apple TV have the ability to go as far as – if not farther – than iPhone apps.

To learn more, read our official press release or reach out today!

Tags: App, Apple, CTV, Connected, TV, Television, iOS

Don’t Worry About Tomorrow - the Importance of Mobile Today

Over the last few years, statistics and articles revel in the growth of mobile app usage, the soaring increase in live apps on app stores, the billions of dollars in revenue that continue to skyrocket – yet, for media companies – these monumental effects have not been felt across the board. In an oversaturated market, there have been shifts towards news aggregators, and expectations of free app content. What’s a company to do in this day and age? You know you need an app, but you don’t want to invest the time, dollars or marketing in it.

On the other hand, there’s constant talk of the next big thing, the emerging technology – holograms, virtual reality, and smart contact lenses – it’s overwhelming when you’re trying to figure out today while having a hand in tomorrow as well. Luckily, there are plenty of companies who worry about that so you as a content creator don’t have to.

You could have the greatest website in the world but you won’t attract the people on their phones without an app. It’s a necessity. The numbers don’t lie:

2 billion people in the world own a smartphone.

-Of the time spent on phones, 89% of that time is spent in apps, the remaining 11% on the mobile web.

-There are 224 million monthly app users in the US.

-There has been an increase of 21% in the time spent in apps since 2014.

-Worldwide mobile app revenue has grown from 27 billion dollars in 2013 to 45 billion dollars in 2015. It’s projected to reach 77 billion by 2017.

-Facebook reported 80% of the ad revenue came from mobile in Q4 2015, up from 69% in Q4 2014, and 20% in Q4 2013.

Mobile needs to be a big part of your strategy right now. Okay, but what about the fact that media companies are suffering here? It’s not all bad; News & Magazine apps grew their app sessions 141% in 2015, trumping TV and desktop media consumption.

Knowing all these fine facts is one thing, but implementing a solid strategy and game plan is another.

Let’s think for a second. Phone users – when are they reading? When do they have time? They’re lying in their bed in the morning, over coffee at breakfast, on a crowded subway, while they wait on line to pay for a sandwich at lunch, back on their commute, and in the comfort of their home. What are they expecting?

Constant updates: between 9am and 11pm, there’s new news – each launch should be a new experience.

Personalization: either being able to choose topics by interest, or having a save for later, offline reading combination, think reading list + no wifi = prime time to be a top opened app on a 45 minute subway ride.

Stability: provide an app experience that never lets a user down, no bugs, no crashes, just a solid, intuitive design and feel.

And finally, tasteful advertisement: no way to beat around the bush, you have to make money somehow, but do it right.

Well, we’ve gotten this far – you know what you need so how do you get it? Do your research. There are plenty of app developers both custom and platform based in all price ranges. Find an app on the app store you like, see what your competitors are doing, what do you like or dislike about their apps? You have to be on the app store, so make the most of it!

If you want to talk to us more about your mobile app strategy, reach out to us at

Tags: Apps, Digital, MAZ, News, Publishing, Web, iphone, mobile

Why Apple TV Is Important for News Publications

Apple TV – The Future of TV is Apps

Ah, the mysterious new Apple TV, the focus of Apple’s product line. Is it the future of TV apps? Yes, but the future is already the present. For years now, people on their couches expect, pay for, and love the ability of on demand browsing. From TiVo to Netflix, it’s abnormal for people in this day and age to watch what’s on TV. There’s a whole demographic of people who don’t even have cable.

Now that the Apple TV App Store exists, companies – publishers specifically – are tip toeing around this thing, wondering if it’s important and what the benefits are. We believe the potential of the Apple TV is enormous. Let’s do this.

It’s The Wild West

Take a look at the breakdown of the current TV apps by category:

74 news apps out of 2,624 total apps (in December). There are 1.5 million apps on the iTunes App Store. This is as close to the gold rush as we’ll ever get to again. Be amongst the first 100, 500, or 1,000. This is fact – you will stand out on the Apple TV Store if you make your app now.

Monetization Doesn’t Follow Mobile’s Model

While the lucrative potential of the TV App Store mimics and even surpasses that of the mobile App Store, the trends in monetization are different. Presently, the breakdown of paid versus free is 39% paid to 61% free. On mobile, for news apps specifically, many monetize via in-app purchases, premium content, advertising and subscriptions.

The trend thus far shows that majority of people are spending $2.99 or less on apps, though apps selling for $59.99 are being purchased too. This points to a trust in the device if users are willing to pay upfront for the content. Already Apple TV has been reported to take the lead over Roku and Amazon to become the leading set top box.

In Development – Apple TV Is Not An iPhone

Apple TV is not an iPhone, says Benjamin Hersh. He goes on to say, you’ll see the most of the tvOS App Store consists of poorly transplanted iOS apps that have no idea what to do on the big screen. I would argue that most developers have not yet learned that Apple TV is not, in fact, an iPhone.

While humorous, it’s also true. Mobile is so tuned into gestures and touch, that developers need to take a step back to keep things simple and comfortable.

Supreme Content Reigns

At the end of the day though, it’s the content that has the last say in how popular or well your app will perform. TV has always been a big deal, and it’s about to get bigger for all the brands that aren’t cable networks.

Here at MAZ, we are excited to see the take off the Apple TV and other cTV and OTT platforms.

Reach out to our team if you want to talk more about Apple TV. We’re forever interested in the changing environment for media.

Tags: Apple, Apps, CTV, Digital, MAZ, News, OTT, Publishing, Roku, TV, Web

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