Friday, May 18, 2012

BBQ - Black Business Quarterly: South African quarterly magazine goes really big inside the Apple Newsstand

One of the issues many publishers worried about when Apple launched its new iPad was digital issue sizes – would the higher resolution tablet require that already large files become even larger in order to take advantage of the new iPad's display? May publishers have chosen to create digital editions that work in only one orientation, thus cutting file sizes while allowing for interactivity and higher resolution graphics.

BBQ – Black Business Quarterly is a new tablet edition released yesterday into Apple's Newsstand. The South African journal profiles black business leaders and is described in the app description as "the mouthpiece of South Africa’s business community through its projection of excellent editorial on happenings within the ever-evolving black business fraternity."
BBQ is published by Cape Media which has two additional titles inside the Newsstand, as well: Service Magazine and Leadership Magazine (which for some reason currently has no app icon).

BNQ employs a hybrid model approach, similar to US Weekly (see here for report): the advertising is reproduced as seen in print, while the editorial pages employ native tablet design.

The big difference with BBQ is that, unlike most other hybrids, this magazine can be read in both portrait and landscape. While the digital magazine has only minimal interactivity (live links plus at least one animation) the dual orientations and 'retina' resolution graphics leads to a very large file size.

How large is BBQ on the iPad? The issue currently available weighs in at 657 MB, and not surprisingly, is a very long and slow download.

For a quarterly publication such as BBQ this might be acceptable. But readers of monthly (or weekly!) titles would probably not accept such sizes.

As for the digital magazine itself one can say that it is gorgeous and very well done - and because the magazine is free, it might be smart to download BBQ for yourself to take a look. Just give yourself some time for the download.

Left: BBQ takes advantage of the new iPad's display with great photography and native tablet designs for the editorial content in both portrait and landscape; Right: in landscape, however, single page ads are floated on the tablet page.