WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW
BEFORE OFFERING A MAGAZINE AS AN APP
Reading a magazine on a smart phone or tablet is a great thing. There are many buttons you can tap, cool videos you can watch, interactive infographics to play with and great photo slide shows to discover. Sounds good. Good for the reader? Most definitely. Good for the publisher? Yes. Given that he/she knows about a few things before hiring somebody to create an app magazine.
A FUNDAMENTAL DECISION
The first question you as a publisher should ask yourself: What do you want to achieve with an app magazine? More income from advertisements? An image boost? Substantiating your position as a market leader? A stronger connection to your readers? A geographic expansion of your readership? (There are no country borders in the world of apps. However, a national magazine might not be known on an international scale and thus has to be promoted, which can be costy.) These are fundamental factors you have to thoroughly think about beforehand.
Next question: What devices shall the app magazine be made for? Smart phone Android, iPhone, tablet Android, iPad ... The more mobile devices you want to cover, the more money you have to invest. This is why an analysis on devices among your current and future readers can be of help.
THE DETAILS ...
... FOR THE READER
I Do you want to feature several magazine issues or only the latest issue in your app?
I A print magazine is delivered to your readers by mail. The app magazine, however, has to be downloaded manually by your readers (single issue app). Or shall your readers be informed about updates ("push notifications") and an automatic background download of the latest magazine issue shall be initiated (multi issue app)?
I Shall the app be fee-based or free? (Apple gets about a 30 % cut of every app sale. And also Adobe, the software most magazine apps are published with, demand EUR 0.22 per download for multi issue apps (as per December 2015).)
... FOR THE PUBLISHER
I You as a publisher have to provide staff, time and financial resources for managing an app magazine.
I The internal organisation and editorial department have to be made sensitised for the app. Investing just a few more hours on top for the app magazine won‘t bring you a lot of success with it. An app magazine is totally different to a print magazine and the editors have to understand this. For every story, they have to find the best way to boost the user experience. This can be done by including audio files, videos, pictures etc. into the app. Calculate time and money to get these sort of files. The editors‘ understanding for a great user experience in an app is essential!
I An app magazine should generally have less text and more pictures than the print issue. Multimedia features (pictures, videos) and interactive elements (interactive infographics etc.) make an app magazine really interesting for the readers. As an app is read on a screen that is lightenend from the back, the eyes become tired more quickly than reading a print magazine. Shorter texts are important here.
Make sure your print and app magazines do not compete but promote and push each other. You can make print readers curious when mentioning more photos, a video or an interactive infographic in the app. Conversely, you can promote a long and detailed report on a specific topic being fully covered in the print issue, in the app ("order the print issue here").
There are some magazine apps that are a 100 % copy of the print magazine, whereas the PDF print file is imported into an app. Additional value for the reader: zero. This is of course the cheapest way for a publisher to offer an app. But the question comes up, if and how the readers interact with such a "PDF app", as they have exactly the same content on paper already. So why spend extra time and money on an app? It is not recommended to 100% convert the print magazine into an app magazine. As a publisher, you don‘t do yourself any good with this. Your advertising clients won‘t be much interested in investing in such an app magazine. With just placing a print pdf file into an app, you miss your chance of converting valuable print advertising clients into paying app advertising clients!
You can also download this topic as a free whitepaper.
Ready to get started with your app publication? In this video you see what interactive functions I can embed for you.