ALTO app now live!

ALTO, a new magazine from Progressive Media Group, is now available on the Apple Newsstand and the Exact Editions webstore.

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This quarterly publication, “a celebration of refined luxury”, is devoted to interior design, fashion, art and travel. Featuring interviews with some of the most innovative designers today, along with stunning photography and unexpected design stories, there’s plenty to get lost in.

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Head over to iTunes now to download the app!

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Artist’s Palette now on Exact Editions

Artist’s Palette, an Australian magazine for both amateur and professional artists has just joined the Exact Editions webstore. The title includes step by step demonstrations, artists interviews and product reviews, and is packed full of attractive images.

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Digital subscribers can access the magazine on iPad/iPhone by downloading the free Exactly app. To read and start getting crafty, subscribe here: http://www.exacteditions.com/artistspalette

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Geolocation for Magazine Apps

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TheMediaBriefing has an article on why Geolocation is a Huge Opportunity for Publishers…  Its worth a read.

But its missing the biggest opportunity, which is that geolocation is the best way for publishers to promote their apps in a new way and it may be as important to magazine publishers as the ‘metered pay walls’ are to newspaper publishers. The fact that magazine publishers need to sell subscriptions to their magazines as apps is a source of the opportunity. Almost all magazines have an audience particularly associated with particular venues, retail sites, or locations. Magazine publishers should be targeting those locations with promotional offers.

Geolocation for magazines is all about subscriptions.

Magazines have realised that tablets and phones are a good way of selling and distributing digital subscriptions. Apple, Amazon and Google, provide a mechanism whereby an app branded for the magazine can be distributed for free, to be ‘switched on’ via a subscription once the user has tried some free content. Sometimes the free taster is a matter of a few free pages, or a free trial issue, or sometimes a grace period before the credit card is charged. This works reasonably well but the process is heavily dependent on the user having the initiative and the commitment to go to an app store and confirm his/her details.

The great potential for geolocation is that publishers can set up free access ByPlace, and this gives the audience the chance to sample the periodical for free whilst they are in the location. It takes the customer a level beyond the step that he/she has reached in the app store. When they walk away from the location they have the app on their device (and — we hope — a good memory to go with it). In fact with the Exact Editions system they will probably walk away with the latest issue synced to their device, and a reminder to buy a subscription when the next issue appears. This ‘free window’ is a great way of pulling customers through to a subscription.

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TheMediaBriefing reports on an experiment through which Time Inc (as used to be IPC) has run experiments with Tesco, through which customers instore are offered vouchers or special offers to buy a subscription. Tesco is (still is) one of the biggest retail brands in the UK and its a great plan to ally the strength of the Tesco brand to the Time Inc titles. But the next step should be to offer free access to the magazine apps to customers whilst they are in the range of the Tesco WiFi service. And the step after that should be to offer a Tesco branded app that collects together some of the Time Inc titles which will be free whilst you are in the Tesco store. Will Tesco (or Marks and Spencer, or Sports Direct) pay for that? They well might with the very strong brands that a publisher like Time Inc can offer. Free access to an issue of Decanter is a powerful incentive to a customer who is interested in the top end of the Tesco wine range.

Magazine publishers need to find ways of exposing their magazine apps in the broadest possible way. Locking them up with a freemium distribution model in the iTunes app store is not the only way to get them in front of a digital audience.

All China Review available online!

The brand new title All China Review is now available in the Exact Editions webstore. The magazine describes itself as “essential reading for all those who seek balanced reviews and accurate insight into the world’s most exciting economy and the largest democracy in the world – China”.

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All China Review appears every two months and covers business, politics, arts, lifestyle and international relations. Buy your digital subscription here http://www.exacteditions.com/allchinareview

Latency, bandwidth, distribution, and discovery for digital magazines

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The other day Benedict Evans, who now works for Andreessen Horowitz, put up an interesting photo on Twitter. A traditional magazine kiosk in a newsstand or bookshop with several hundred magazines in the  frame. His tweet:

“High latency, high bandwidth, inefficient distribution, efficient discovery.”

His implicit message being that the industry has changed and the kiosk proposition has changed, because digital magazine work in a different way. Lets take a look at how the proposition has changed, bearing in mind that the changes effect both the consumer, the medium (magazines) and the sales outlet (the kiosk or newsstand).

From the consumer’s point of view one could say that the features that Benedict highlights have simply reversed. Magazines are now instantly available to the consumer who has access through a tablet or the web, there is really no latency when it comes to purchasing or access. This is especially impressive in the case of back issues, where a large heap of digital back copies can be searched and browsed immediately (assuming the app and the publisher makes this possible). Latency is very low there is no delay. Bandwidth also appears to be upending, magazines as digital objects used to be considered rather large, but many devices can now ingest or sync in less than a minute and as memories expand, the individual magazine issue turns out to be a digital shrimp. Distribution is a big change, printed magazines from the customer’s point of view are dependent on an extraordinarily precarious and inefficient process. Either the customer subscribes by post or the customer has to trek to the nearest store or kiosk. On the final parameter: “discovery” it again looks as though the tables have been turned. We hear so many complaints about how hard it is to find stuff in app stores or newsstands, that one might conclude that we now have a strikingly inefficient system for discovering digital magazines. But, whatever its shortcomings, this is being unfair to the iTunes newsstand. Titles are now relatively hard to find in our digital newsstands because there is now so much available to be discovered. If the consumer has her wits about her, digital magazines are surely much easier to find than their print equivalent. So if we look at a typical digital kiosk, I think our refrain would be

“Latency low, bandwidth low enough, super-efficient distribution, discovery so-so” (tweet)

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So what lessons should a digital publisher take from this reversal of roles? This inversion of highs, lows and inefficiencies? First, we should check up that we are not publishing magazine apps that take an inordinate time to download or fire-up (some still do, which is very lax, since an app can be designed to fire up and continue syncing in the background); second, digital publishers should be thinking hard about how their apps can be made even easier to find. Discoverable not only by those in the know, but discoverable by those who would be delighted….. It is no longer necessary to go to a physical newsstand to discover a new magazine. The consumer’s device, phone or tablet provides immediate access to an amazing choice of apps and web services. That is a huge step forward, but discovery is still a challenge because the competitive landscape is now vastly larger. Precisely because every title should be available if you want it.