While there is some worthwhile discussion around "should you have a mobile app, website or both," there's a strong case for building app-like mobile website experiences with HTML5. Not only can you achieve much of the functionality you can with native apps, there's less friction (users do not need to download an app). And when it comes to monetizing your app, HTML5 enables you to reclaim profitability and control over the customer relationship that is lost in the "walled garden" of the app store.
You may have heard that Apple takes a 30% bite of all subscription-based content apps sold through its App Store (yes, that's recurring revenue). This is tough to swallow for many content publishers, especially as more people convert to the iPad. Equally painful is the fragmentation of customers across device platforms and the difficulty walled gardens create with regards to "owning" the customer relationship directly.
In our latest webinar, A Look Inside Tomorrow's Digital Commerce Platform, Peter Sheldon, Senior Analyst at Forrester Research provided a few examples of what media publishers are doing to get around the walled garden.
Take USA Today, whose subscription offerings are spread across various platforms. There is no single generic subscription option that can be accessed on a desktop, mobile device, tablet and ereader.
The Boston Globe, on the other hand, uses HTML5 and responsive design to deliver an incredibly rich experience across various touchpoints. The Financial Times started with a native app, but frustrated with revenue share and the loss of customer relationship, began working with a company it has since acquired. Both publications can offer single subscription access across devices without playing by the rules of the walled gardens.
Unfortunately, more walled gardens and app stores are emerging. The next version of Mac's operating system will by default require digital signing by software developers to be approved by Apple (defaults can be changed). This means your desktop applications will also be controlled by Apple, even when not purchased through the App Store.
The full webinar has more info on monetizing digital content, check out A Look Inside Tomorrow's Digital Commerce Platform, available on-demand.