Monday, October 17

Make a Newsstand - On The Edge

The recent upgrade to iOS5 bought the virtues of Newstand to my iPod, which got me thinking, newspaper and magazine sales have been on the decline, you only have to look at these figures for the first half of 2011 from the Press Gazette and you can clearly see that a lot of publications are in decline.

The launch of Newstand (and other similar platforms) is a genuine lifeline for a suffering industry, and has made what was a confusing proposition for online content, into a clear and future-proof revenue stream. 

That must be great if you're a magazine publisher, however that doesn't mean BADLY PDF'ING YOUR MAGAZINE AND SELLING IT FOR £6!

I've purchased a few online publications, my favourite being The Times, which makes full use of the iPad screen, divides sections up clearly, has a beautiful drop menu and navigation system and supports video content. The Guardian is also good, but lacks a little clarity in the structure, and isn't as easy to browse through. The worst, and the reason for this article, is Edge Magazine, which has literally PDF'ed the print edition and supplied it to Newsstand. The detailing of this is so bad, that double page spreads aren't even matched up properly and you end up with pages looking like this:

It's worrying to think that these publications have been given a life-line and they're risking throwing it away by not embracing or understanding the technology or the user. Along with the poorly aligned pages, there's no other functionality to the magazine, so no embedded video, and only one clickable link. There really is so much potential here, especially with a publication for a visual medium like games, it's a huge risk to launch your product half-baked like this, how did nobody understand that?

So, the big news is, Mr Benjamin Brown will not be buying a digital copy of this particular magazine again, and it'll make me think twice before spending money on any publication through Newsstand. It's disheartening to think that being given a second chance in what must be desperate times at the publication, they've not recognised the potential of the proposition and consequentially damaged their brand in this way.

Thank god Karen subscribes to the paper copy of Heat, which is course I never read.

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Calum Brannan said...

Ben, this is very true. Magazines really need to embrace online and stop running away from it.

Wired magazine is a great read, really very well thought out. You'd enjoy it.

Best wishes,


BB said...

I'll take a look at that, thanks for the comment

Paul Holmes said...

The worst newspaper-to-iPad example that I've come across has to be the i newspaper.

You'd think that an easy to digest, quality daily paper launched when the iPad was in existence, was made for this format.

Unfortunately it's just a glorified PDF that takes an age to download (no automatic downloads), with a few inconsistent click-able links, terrible image quality, no video content, and it's not yet integrated into Newsstand. It's such a wasted opportunity.

I'm enjoying the Guardian iPad app. Has anyone plucked up the courage to check out News Corporations 'The Daily' yet?

BB said...

That's exactly what I'm talking about P, it's so risky for them to be that lazy, I think it highlights the arrogance publishers have for their product. Original content is the most important thing, but not at the cost of how it's presented.

Is The Daily free?