Friday, August 19, 2011

German publisher launches English language app and tablet-only magazine for digital & marketing professionals

The German publisher of Werben & Verkaufen, a 30,000 marketing magazine, has launched an English language iPad app that is partially a web aggregator, as well as an e-magazine. junction – magazine for digital professionals and marketing experts is a free download that also gives readers free access to the content.
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The app launched a couple of days ago and I believe has been updated at least once since then as the current version is listed as version 1.2 and includes a new issue of the e-magazine.

The app is designed, like Flipboard, to be highly customizable. In this regard, it is an interesting take on the "my news" concept where the reader picks their own sources. Prebuilt into the app are RSS feeds from AdAge, Brandrepublic, the Financial Times, the New York Times and others. The reader can turn off any of these feeds if they choose, and can add in their own. Whether the publisher has agreements with any of these publishers whose feeds are included here is an interesting question.

There also Twitter feeds here, as well as blog feeds. I found the choices here "interesting", which I suppose is my way of saying questionable, but no matter, they can all be switched off and new ones added if desired.

As for the magazine, there is much to like, and much to dislike with junction (or junct!on).

There are currently two issues available for downloading. The first is 445 MB in size and I never finished downloading it. After waiting ten minutes for it to download I got bored and tapped one of the news stories. Bad idea, this stopped the download, and when I returned to the home page the downloaded started all over again from the beginning.

I then decided to download the most recent issue. This one is about half the size. Once the download started I decided to go and grab some lunch. I returned, finished lunch and waited longer for it to finally finish. Suffice to say that it took way too long. One certainly wouldn't consider downloading an issue while on the run or with a less than speedy WiFi connection.

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The magazine itself can be read in both portrait and landscape orientations. The cover, and each of the articles starts with a video animation. This can prove to be a bit annoying simply because they auto-play so returning to the first page of any article starts the video playing again, as will changing the iPad's orientation.

The animations are well done, though not always very relevant, but no matter, clearly there is some talent here.

The legal information page, which also has an animation, by the way, points to SeitWerk as the developer of the app. Their promotional video can also be found on the junction website, as well. (see below)

What's a little weird, however, is that the magazine is in English, but the website is in German. I checked the German App Store and found junction there (link to German App Store app). I expected to see a different app for the German market but it is the same app and same app description as seen in the U.S. store (even the app description is the same, in English).

(It should be noted that the new app description says that "yes, we've put junction on a diet, the size of issue #2 is now down to 270 MB.")

In the end, junction is an interesting app because it is attempting to create something analogous to a web portal for marketing people. Whether other marketing sites will appreciate their RSS feeds being included here is a good question. Maybe AdAge, AdWeek and others should get off their duff and get in the game before its too late?



Below is the promotional video which I assume was created by SeitWerk:

junct!on - Trailer from Verlag Werben & Verkaufen on Vimeo.

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