Monday, March 19, 2012

Project Magazine suffers some growing pains as it tries to serve readers inside Apple's Newsstand

A tablet-only magazine that TNM has kept its eye on since its original release in November of 2010 is Project Magazine, from Richard Branson's Virgin Digital Publishing.
The original digital magazine was a created in partnership with the content agency Seven Publishing Group. But since then a joint venture between Virgin and Other Edition Limited has been created.

The app, simply called Project Magazine, was recently updated but users continue to complain that about the magazine's subscription issues since the app has moved into Apple's Newsstand.

"Used to be so simple and beautiful. Tried to be clever with an update and lost all my previous purchases, new interface is awful."

"Terrible update. Won't recognize my subscription, or download any previous issues I had bought. Not had a new issue in ages and the recent ones have been a far cry from the standard of the first issues."

– reviews inside the App Store
The publisher is well aware of the issues with the app as evidenced by the app description:

"Welcome to this issue of Project. Our sincere apologies for some of the newsstand and back-issue matters that might have caused some of our readers hassle. We have sorted out the newsstand teething issues which have beset most publishers; and we have now brought our deliver systems in-house. In the interim, we will continue to provide our readers, SOUNDS magazine with our compliments for the next three months – the most exciting music magazine to launch and giving you nearly an album of the best music to enjoy in each issue."

Issues inside Newsstand are $3.99, with an annual subscription costing $19.99.

The latest issue features Clint Eastwood on the cover along with the usual introductory video. But whereas the video was creatively embedded into the cover, this video is just a player window. The video itself is also just a repurposing of the ad from Chrysler that made its first appearance during halftime of the Super Bowl this past year.

The app can only be used in portrait, but nonetheless still weighs in at 626 MB. Imagine how large this issue would be had it been optimized for the new iPad's "retina display"? Though some digital publishing vendors have been assuring me that issue size won't be a problem, it is hard to see how it won't negatively effect some publications. The download of this issue was slow enough as it was, what if it had been over a gig? Would I even have bothered?

Update: Mike Burgess posted a comment to this story that pointed out this post from the UK edition of MediaWeek. That story mentions that Virgin's previous publishing partner, Seven, is claiming to be a creditor of the new company formed by Virgin and its new partner, Other Edition. Thanks Mike.

I have created a video recently and it certainly shows in the one below. But inside the video, at about the halfway mark (its three minutes in length) you will get a glimpse of the Eastwood issue of Project Magazine.

1 Comment:

Ipadpublisher said...

This may be related to the story here on media week where Other Edition are being sued by Seven, the agency that launched it.