Allatanys – Three Major Japanese Newspapers’ Online Challenge Silently Taken Down

Allatanys, an website where you may read headline news from three of Japan’s most published newspapers in parallel, run by Yomiuri Shimbun, Asahi Shimbun and Nikkei, has ceased yeasterday, February 29, 2012.

The site top shows a short text with background image which makes the text hard to read. The text tells, “Allatanys site has ended. Allatays, a site for compared-reading Nikkei/Asahi/Yomiuri, stopped its distribution at the end of February 2012. Thank you for your long-term reading. You may read the news on each company’s website.”. And three newspapers’ website are linked.

Yomiuri, Asahi and Nikkei are on top of the world’s most circulated newspaper ranking, Yomiuri #1, Asahi #2 and Nikkei #7.

Allatanys began on January 31, 2008. We covered its free iOS app release on February 2009.

On Facebook, these three had opened Allatanys page, where students are running discussion place under the three newspaper names. This Facebook page will remain with Allatanys brand.

There are no related news around this termination found on Google News so far.

Three Newspapers’ App: Highly Ranked But Not Highly Rated

Regarding the three newspaper companies’ iPhone/iPod app “Allatanys” that was covered in my previous post, it is at the top of the free app section in the Japanese App Store.    But it has attained only two stars in the five-star-rating system.    Why is this?

The App Store’s ranking list is based on the number of times each iPhone/iPod app is downloaded, and App Store users are forced to download an app, and try it before rating it.   So, if an app has a catchy title with a very impressive explanation, this will encourage users to download it, causing it to reach a high ranking.    But it does not always get a high rating if the app itself is worthless.

In the newspaper app case mentioned above, people tried it at first but they complained that it was not very useful.   Contrary to the Sankei Shimbun’s iPhone/iPod app, the newspaper triad’s app does not allow users to read the full text of the papers, only some headlines and abstracts.    In order to read the full text, the user is forced to visit the newspaper company’s website after clicking a link provided in the app.   Some users concluded that it was unnecessary to develop the app, because a website designed for the iPhone/iPod web browser would be enough.  On the other hand, Sankei’s app enables you to download all pages of the paper and read the full text without visiting its website.

Some people think that this iPhone/iPod app was only developed as a catalyst making users visit Allatanys’ website, and they are concerned that the AppStore will be filled with worthless apps in the future.

(Proofread by: Sean O’Hagan)

Three Major Japanese Newspapers Collectively Introduce iPhone/iPod App

Logo of Aratanys

The three major Japanese newspaper companies in the NikkeiAsahiYomiuri Internet Business Partnership introduced their free iPhone/iPod app on Wednesday, enabling news stories from these papers to be read side by side.   The partnership was formed almost a year ago to launch a website bringing news stories from the three different papers together in one place. The resulting site was given the name “Allatanys [J]” (pronounced as ‘a-ra-ta-ni-su’, not as ‘all-at-anys’), which means “to make something new”, and which ends with “anys”, the first three letters being the companies’ initials.

The newly-introduced application allows you to read cover stories, city news items, editorials and pictures carried by the newspapers.   It is very interesting to be able to compare the three papers in terms of their media policies and political stances right in the palm of your hand.

Allatanys App with Descriptions

Allatanys App 2

Some newspapers are reportedly facing bankruptcy in the United States, which is causing major Japanese newspapers to come up with ways to combat the rapid decrease in the number of their subscribers over the last  few years.   The iPhone/iPod app is not currently monetized, but the group expects it to motivate consumers to also read the actual physical papers.

On a related note, The Sankei Shimbun [J] has already introduced their own App Store offering, developed by Tokyo-based tech venture Yappa, which won the Israel Trade Award in 2004.   Asiajin author Serkan Toto wrote about Yappa in this story on TechCrunch.

I’ve listened to the perspectives of a few people who think that newspapers in Japan might die as a medium by 2011.   The conversion of TV signals to digital in Japan (known as DTV in the United States), is scheduled to be completed by that year as well.   A survey has stated that the second most frequently read part of a newspaper is the section on local TV programming. In fact, this section is ranked the number one reason for Japanese consumers to subscribe to newspapers.   DTV has an electronic programming guide feature built in (EPG for short), so you don’t need the paper anymore.   This may further accelerate subscription cancellations as the change-over date approaches.

(Proofread by: Sean O’Hagan)