Monday, January 10, 2011

Axel Springer Schweiz releases a series of universal apps for their German language magazine titles

Zurich based Axel Springer Schweiz has released a series of universal media apps for their magazines during that past week. Each of the apps is free to download, though they only lead to their own in-app stores where the reader then purchases access to the magazines.
The new apps are Beobachter eMagazin, BeobachterNatur eMagazin, Bilanz, Tele, Handelszeitung and Stocks.

Each of the magazines are in German, though I believe Stocks has some English content, as well (or there is an English edition, I'm a bit confused about this).

Axel Springer AG has also released a new iPad edition of its newspaper Hamburger Abendblatt which I will look at later.
The trouble with these magazine apps is clearly spelled out in the only iTunes review so far written in the US store which complains that the app is "just a portal to buy their magazine". Now I see nothing wrong with this, after all if you are going to charge for access to the magazine there is only two ways to do it: create an app that already contains the content, or create a portal that takes you to the content.

The problem here lies in the fact the app does not offer you a sample issue -- so a great way to actually market the magazine is missed. Instead, only those already familiar with the magazine will want to pony up the $3.99 need to access the issue.

Packaging a tablet edition like this is a bit like polybagging an issue on the newsstand: it allows the reader to buy the issue, but doesn't allow new readers from perusing the magazine to see if they would like to buy it.

It doesn't appear that much thought or effort was spent creating these new apps as all the magazines appear to simply replica editions. As the reviewer stated, you have to really want to have these magazines on your tablet to be enticed into buying them.