Polar Mobile helped publishers jump on the mobile app wave by making apps for companies like Conde Nast, Time, The Wall Street Journal and Sports Illustrated. But now, it’s ready to help media brands shift to an HTML5 world with its MediaEverywhere content distribution system, that will power mobile websites and later hybrid mobile apps. Today, it’s announcing that Canada’s The Hockey News and Canadian Living are the first brands to deploy MediaEverywhere with the official launch of MediaEverywhere coming later this year.
MediaEverywhere provides publishers with an SDK based on HTML5 that allows them to create custom mobile websites in a short period of time but also re-use the work for native apps for smartphones and tablets. The SDK allows publishers to control the look of their content while easily distributing it to multiple devices in a cost-effective way.
HTML5 has been hyped as a tool to help developers build once and reach mobile browsers and apps. But the technology hasn’t developed as fast as proponents would have liked, including Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, who admitted that the company’s reliance on HTML5 was its biggest mistake. So why does it make sense for MediaEverywhere?
CEO Kunal Gupta told me Polar Mobile did a lot of optimization to its SDK to improve performance including a lot of caching on the device and a single-page architecture. And he said he created the tool specifically for publishers to help them present articles, blogs, photo galleries and multimedia content. Polar Mobile has also integrated support for third-party ads and also handles Google Analytics and Adobe Omniture for analytics.
He said publishers are finding that the revenue they’re currently making on mobile doesn’t justify the heavy price tag of dedicated native apps, which also take a long time to develop. And he said mobile consumption is increasingly moving to the web browser. Pew reported earlier this month that 60 perecnt of tablet news users rely on their browser to get news on their tablet, compared to 23 percent that mostly use apps. With a tool like MediaEverywhere that’s optimized for media publishers, Gupta believes brands have a way to be on all devices quickly without paying a heavy price.
“The mobile economy isn’t working today. Publishers are spending too much to pay for audiences and advertisers haven’t kept up with the audience,” said Gupta.
Gupta said more publishers will be coming on board soon including some of Polar Mobile’s more than 400 existing media clients. If that happens, that should validate Polar Media’s bet on MediaEverywhere. The company raised $6 million in January to build out the product.