Big day today with the official launch of SCOtutor for Lion.
This is a brand new ScreenCastsOnline application, the first one available via the Mac App Store. It's a full HD video tutorial which covers all the new features in Lion, and is contained within a custom video player.
The application is completely standalone, and includes the HD video as part of the application, so once downloaded, it can run independently - no connectivity required.
The application has some unique features, most notably, full onscreen subtitles in multiple languages - English, Spanish, Brazilian Portuguese and Simplified Chinese - yes, ScreenCastsOnline is going global!
SCOtutor for Lion has been available on the Mac App Store for a couple of days, following a soft launch via Twitter. Surprisingly, even with the soft launch, it made an appearance on the UK and US top paid apps, and is currently number 10 in the top paid Productivity apps in the UK store. I'm not sure how these charts are compiled, they seem to be as mysterious as the iTunes podcast charts! But it's off to a great start.
The main launch today is via two mechanisms:
Press Release - I just sent out a Press Release via PR Mac - this gets forwarded to over 600 news outlets, so we'll have to see what the response is . It will be fascinating to see the reach of the application and also if the multilingual subtitles make a big difference in the sales. iTunes Connect allows to to drill into each country to see how sales are distributed, so I'll be able to track the performance of the App, and see if the multilingual subtitles make a difference.
ScreenCastsOnline Members - I also sent out an email and a short informational video [Low Res] [High Res] to all of my members. Fingers crossed that some will purchase the app and put some (hopefully good) reviews on the Mac App Store, but I'm also hoping that the members will also get behind me and promote the app by letting friends, family and colleagues know about SCOtutor for Lion.
If I can get enough positive reviews on the Mac App Store, there is always the possibility of being featured by Apple in the "New and Notable" section - it certainly wouldn't hurt!
SCOtutor Release Strategy
I've already had some feedback from people intending to buy, but disappointed that SCOtutor for Lion is only for OSX 10.7 and above. That was a decision I took for the future really. The application makes use of some of the new AV foundation features in 10.7, and it makes the code base more compatible with iOS when the application gets ported across. Also, I figured that it would mainly be Lion users that would get most benefit from this first release.
Now that the initial launch is underway, I've just submitted v1.0.1 but that is with Apple for review. It's some minor bug fixes for the screen handling, as well as localised App Store pages for the Mac App Stores for the supported languages. So when people see the App Store pages in China, Brazil, Spain… or any App Store using the language supported by the App subtitles, they will see the App description in their native language. I've even included localised screenshots!
V1.1 of SCOtutor for Lion is next, and that will include French subtitles as well - hopefully, that will be out in the next week or two, and will be a free upgrade.
There's lot's more behind the story of both creating the App and getting it as far as the Mac App Store, but I'll leave that for another blog post.
As far as other SCOtutor applications are concerned, I'll need to see how this one goes.
The initial investment for this first App has been significant, especially factoring in the costs of the subtitle translations. If the sales make this delivery mechanism viable, it's something I may consider on an occasional basis.
Impact on the Weekly ScreenCastsOnline Tutorials
This App is very much an experiment and will not impact in any way on the weekly tutorials I produce. The weekly shows do have English subtitles, and these will continue. The adoption of multiple language subtitles for the weekly shows is impossible both for logistical and financial reasons.
The weekly ScreenCastsOnline tutorial, and providing the best quality service to my members is still my number one priority, and the new application does not alter that one iota. The full membership is still the most cost effective way to get the full ScreenCastsOnline experience, and that will remain true for the foreseeable future.
I'd just like to extend my thanks to all the various people who have been involved in creating the SCOtutor for Lion App, doing the localisation work and the translations.
A special note of thanks to Simon Wolf of Otter Software who coded the app, and Jamie Peak - Portfolio - who designed the graphics - it's so refreshing to work with talented people who love to go the extra mile.
Fingers crossed the App goes well and reaches the audience I intended it to!