Monday, April 25, 2011

Homage Magazine launched as tablet-only app: teaser issue works hard to frustrate any prospective readers

It is interesting to me that tablet-centric and tablet-only magazines are beginning to be produced around the same time that some major publishers are already expressing frustration that their tablet efforts are not catching on with the general public. It is proof, I believe, of the argument I made a year ago that it will be those that are committed to the new platform that will show the way for traditional print publishers.
But even though I have great faith that the new, independent electronic publishers will have lots to offer the industry and to magazine readers, it is also true that the basics of publishing do not change from platform to platform – and rule number one is don't piss off your new readers.

On Saturday a new tablet-only magazine appeared in Apple's App Store, Homage Magazine, and it certainly violates rule number one big time. The app is free to download and then gives readers a "teaser" issue. Does any one like to be "teased"? Better that the publisher had offered an abridged issue, or better still a full prototype issue.

Instead Homage Magazine gives its new readers lots of messages that say "To use the features of this section, download the full edition from the App Store". Grrr.

To make matters worse, there is no "full edition" currently in the App Store. (I actually think they mean that the full edition will appear as an in-app purchase, but we'll see because neither option is currently available for readers.)
It's probably just as well, because judging from the music the publishers use here it appears that this magazine is designed for those people who walk into an elevator and stay there all day because they like the music.

The app description says the new magazine will "pay tribute to the extraordinary people, places, events and products that are positively changing the fabric of our planet." I think the emphasis here will be on "products". As for those "extraordinary" people mentioned, well, think "rich".

The website that supports the new magazine is not very helpful in understanding the company and people behind this new tablet magazine. But it does contain the first spec sheet targeted at the advertising community I've seen from a publisher.

Other publishers who have yet to build their own media kits with specs might find this simple PDF of interest.