Monday, November 15, 2010

The Hollywood Reporter launches unique first iPad app: replica edition in portrait, breaking news in landscape

The Hollywood Reporter continues to do things a bit differently. One of seven publications acquired in December from Nielsen Business Media by a consortium of investors led by James Finkelstein to form E5 Global Media, The Hollywood Reporter has been transformed from a from a weekday trade paper into a weekly magazine. Now the magazine has introduced its first iPad edition that is part replica edition, part news app.
The Hollywood Reporter for iPad is a free app that is a completely different product depending on the orientation the iPad owner uses. In portrait mode the user access the latest edition (there is limited access to a "sample> edition). The issues are not cheap: $5.99, a huge increase over the subscription price of the print edition -- but then again, no annual subscription is currently being offered for the iPad.

In landscape mode, the turns into a nicely designed RSS reader bringing 'breaking news'. A rather obnoxious ad pops up, but I suppose that is the price of being able to access the news from the app for free.
(Because there is no 'cookie' mechanism built into the iPad there is no way to stop the same ad from popping up every time you access a news story.)

This two-apps-in-one approach is fairly unique. Sure, there are lots of magazine apps that take advantage of using both portrait and landscape modes to create slightly different versions of the same product but are doing the same thing The Hollywood Reporter is doing?
This may be a good solution for a number of other publishers, especially B2B publishers. Creating a weekly or monthly iPad edition will not be easy for many publishers, so by creating a replica edition in portrait and an RSS reader in landscape, the publisher can create something that can serve the needs to readers who want access to breaking news, but want to use their iPads as e-readers at the same time.

It will be interesting to see if one of the flipbook vendors who are pushing replica editions can add this RSS reader feature to its bag of tricks to create more interesting iPad apps.