Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Red Bulletin continues to explore the tablet publishing format with its free interactive magazine

I've said many times that the most interesting work being done in the tablet publishing platform is coming from sources where marketing is the first goal – automobile company magazines, for instance.

Red Bulletin, the magazine from the drink maker Red Bull, is an obviously example, as well. Red Bulletin's first iPad app was released in May and featured Tim Lincecum on the cover (ah, back when the Giants still dreamt of repeating as WS champs).
Since then the formula has continued to evolve. The new app, The Red Bulletin US, updated on October 28, has the tablet magazine inside Newsstand so that readers can subscribe (for free) and have their issues download automatically.

The tablet edition no longer supports both portrait and landscape modes, however. This move saves both edition file size as well as production time. With all the embedded video to be found inside the issues, this probably makes a lot of sense. For me, someone who most often has their tablet in landscape, the choice to go in this direction works fine, but others who most often hold their iPads like a Kindle will be disappointed in the choice.

But, it should be remembered, any video heavy app works best in landscape.

There is a funny little error in the latest edition: the December issue loads to the cover pages shown above – which reads "November", oops.

If you haven't been reading Red Bulletin, and are serious about tablet publishing, I would recommend downloading it. The app is consistently rated highly by readers who, I sure, appreciate the native app design. But the publishers I really wish would see this app are those who think porting over their print products as replica editions will be enough.

One last thought: will tablet publications like this end up exclusively on the iPad? While it is technically possible to port this over to Android for display on a seven-inch display tablet, I doubt the user experience would be the same.

Top Left: The first page after the cover offers navigation instruction; Top Right: The TOC; Bottom Left: the app features a page where the reader can access Red Bull TV; Bottom Right: an ad for Braun also features embedded video.