Thursday, June 25, 2009

Exactly: A Magazine App for the iPhone

Exactly is a free App for the iPhone which can be downloaded from the Apple iTunes Store here.

If you have an iPhone and are in the magazine business you should download it and check it out with the hundreds of free sample magazine issues that are open to any user of the Exact Editions store.

If you dont have an iPhone this short (c. 5 minute) video will give you a good overview of the power of digital magazines on this platform.

There are three major advances which magazine publishers should focus on:

  1. First, PageFlow (similar to CoverFlow for CD collections) allows users a rapid and compelling way to browse the whole magazine and feel its richness and visual quality. You need to see this segment of the video for this alone.
  2. Second, all the phone numbers, email addresses, web links, and Post Codes (Zip Codes) will be live and clickable and this gives the user/reader many more ways in which to respond to and interact with the magazine and its advertisers. This is a digital magazine which is much more responsive and dynamic than any 'page turning' or 'brochure-ware' version that one may have seen a few years ago. (Small qualification: a few of these links may not work. This will almost certainly be because the page, or the area of the page, on which the 'dumb' phone number appears, was vectorised before the PDF was printed. In this case information is wiped from the file before the Exact Editions database has access to the information).
  3. Finally, this highly interactive digital extension to the magazine really just IS the magazine in a digital format. Because the Exact Editions process is largely automated, it is -- in principle -- rather straightforward and efficient to create a digital version of any magazine. In fact we will do a sample issue that can be trialled through the Exactly App for free (offer open to all mainstream magazines). It also follows that the existing audience will recognise and respond to the magazine in its digital form pretty much as they do in print. There is not a big learning curve for users (there is a small learning step as they figure out how to use the touch screen and the orientation of the device -- but this is the kind of 'playing' that iPhone users like to do with Apps).
This last point is particularly important to magazines because of the crucial importance of branding in the magazine world. Magazine publishers often talk about their digital activities as 'brand extension', but the prospect of being able to simply park your magazine (with all its back issues) on the iPhone platform is really as much a matter of brand consolidation as of brand extension. Publishers have to do this to defend and to extend their presence in the consumer's mind-share.

The key importance of branding and the need for magazines to develop the value of their brands (usually corresponding to the magazine's title: Vogue, The New Yorker, Wired etc are all bigger brands than their owner Conde Nast). Enabling a publisher to put their own branded magazine App directly in the iPhones App store, and for sale in the Apple e-commerce environment will be our next step. Stay tuned.


Group51 said...

Cool, so when will I be able to read my Velovision subscription on my iPhone?

Adam Hodgkin said...

You can do this now. Any subscriber to one of the Exact Editions publications can download the Free App, Exactly from the App Store. When you have that, go to the iPhones 'Settings' page, the Exactly App will be listed there, when you select that tab it will allow you to enter your account details (email address and pw), that is it. When you next use the Exactly App the complete run of Velo Vision back issues will be there waiting for you.