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How are South African publishers, agencies using tablets?

Depending on who you ask, tablets have either become incredibly expensive coasters or are a technology that hasn’t even come close to reaching its full potential.

Whatever the future of the device though, you can’t get around the fact that the market is still growing, albeit at much slower rates than before.

For publishers and agencies alike then, there is still very definitely a case to be made for being able to produce content that can be viewed easily on tablets. But how well has the South African digital space adapted to the tablet?

A few answers might lie in the results of a recent survey conducted by IAB SA — the independent, member driven body which looks after the interests of agencies and publishers in South Africa — and Automated Publishing Services (APS).

Among the publishers, it seems that the majority of respondents (86.5%) are disseminating their content using tablets, with the preferred tablet brands being Apple and Samsung. Just over half meanwhile (51.8%) are doing so through the publication of free apps. Around three-quarters (74.0%) of respondents believe that it’s in their strategic interest to have a presence on tablets.

According to the survey, two major factors that influence publishers to use tablets include the market penetration of the device and the software and development costs of publishing.

On the agency front, the majority of respondents were from multimedia agencies (50%) and communications agencies (33.3%), with nearly two-thirds (66.1%) already developing smartphone or tablet publications.

The most common applications used by respondents include company presentations, catalogues, functions and single issue applications.

While building for tablets is clearly important to South African agencies, it’s definitely not considered the most important skill-set in their armory.

According to the survey results, the majority of respondents develop tablet applications last, whilst 80% of respondents indicated that the cost aspect for tablet publishing is the application creation.

Tablet Publishing Survey Results Med

Andrew Parrington, Head of Sales at Automated Publishing Services, says that another key takeouts is the fact that “companies are hiring agencies to produce applications and not producing them internally”.

Agencies meanwhile have established that development and software costs are the biggest obstacles in getting into the tablet market.

Parrington notes, “As the market matures over time, the costs for development will reduce. The industry has already seen the software price decrease, making it affordable to produce applications”.

Parrington is hopeful for the future of South Africa’s tablet market, saying that “there is no doubt that we will see the future of tablet penetration in the digital marketing getting bigger and the production of tablet specific application will gain more traction”.

As increasingly cheap smartphones flood the market and the features on those smartphones get better though, it’ll be interesting to see how correct those predictions turn out to be.

Author | Stuart Thomas

Stuart Thomas
Stuart is the editor-in-chief of Engage Me Online. After pursuing an MA in South African literature, he spent five years reporting on the global technology scene. Intrigued by the intersection of technology and work, he joined Engage Me as the editor-in-chief. He is a passionate runner, and recently ran... More
  • It seems to me that South African tablets and digital publishing market is very unique among other geographical locations. I work for PressPad a digital publishing software company, we do apps for magazine publishers. From a year now we work very closely with some SA agencies via our partnership program http://blog.presspadapp.com/case-study-affiliate-works-presspad-partnership-program/ and build digital magazine apps for them. When I am analysing their achievemnts via AppAnnie it always remains that compering to number of users and market saturation, South African magazine apps sell very well… maybe even better than on US market. The magazine published through PressPad touch such topics as hunting, bow hunting etc. and I am wondering does it corelate with incredible well sales results in South Africa? Is there anyone who understand this?