Polar Mobile, a pioneer in creating publishing apps for top media brands back when the move from print and web to mobile was still a novel concept, today opened up the next stage in its content delivery strategy for publishers everywhere. Originally debuted in closed beta with a few select publishers back in October, Polar is now throwing open the gates to its MediaEverywhere cross-platform solution with more than 20 paying customers on board, including The Toronto Star, British Vogue, Canadian Living and more.
The MediaEverywhere platform is an extension of Polar Mobile’s existing business, but intended as a one-stop platform for making content available across devices, in a format best-suited to each individual platform. HTML5 is a cornerstone element of the strategy, Polar Mobile CEO and founder Kunal Gupta told me in an interview, but he also stressed that it’s not the only piece. There are native components for apps on iOS, Android, Windows 8 and more to make sure that publications are delivered best on each platform where they appear, rather than seeming shoe-horned into a best-fit solution.
“Our customers are giving a lot of positive feedback on the platform, and there are a few different reasons why,” Gupta explained, describing the benefits of his company’s platform for media publishers. “The first one is because we’re addressing a lot of the challenges of how do you get your advertising, your analytics, you content to work everywhere. The second is that we’re accelerating time to market and reducing cost, and the third is that we enable monetization, and we do that by integrating with the right tech and systems to help them do that.”
Another benefit, and one Gupta says is most important, is that MediaEverywhere is working with internal development teams at these various publications to help them build on top of the platform, meaning they can be very heavily involved in what the final product looks like. This takes away the concern that publishers will be stuck with whatever product Polar’s platform spits out, and also ensures that no two products built by different publishers with MediaEverywhere will ever look exactly the same.
What Polar Mobile is offering here isn’t the same type of simple mobile site conversion being sold by companies like OnSwipe and Pressly. Gupta says their main competitors are more comprehensive services like Adobe’s suite of digital publishing tools, and existing content management systems like WordPress and Drupal, which offer mobile templates for content that has traditionally been hosted on the desktop web.
“Our belief is that to create a great user experience, you need an optimized platform for mobile devices,” Gupta argues. “Especially when you start to build both web and native experiences, the alternative of using a CMS just doesn’t work.”
Going forward, MediaEverywhere will be the flagship product for Polar Mobile, which is the platform it raised $6 million last January to develop. The company has a strong foothold with media companies already, including over 400 media brands it counts as customers for existing mobile app development efforts, so it has a head start getting publishers on the cross-platform MediaEverywhere product. This is a big new direction for a company that in its infancy helped define what a media app even looked like, back before the iPhone when the BlackBerry was the most important mobile OS. Polar is now seeing a sea change in the industry, and this is a shift designed to help usher in the new era, where content companies focus on content, and don’t have to worry about product delivery fragmentation.