Tuesday, May 15, 2012

PC World launches a tablet edition into the Newsstand; model is the same as its sister publication, Macworld

Five weeks ago Macworld launched a tablet edition into the Apple Newsstand. That app, built using the Mag+ platform, uses a hybrid model where the advertising is reproduced as you would see it in print, but the editorial content is reformatted for the tablet. (You can read my report on the app here.)
Now IDG has released a new app for PC World. Like Macworld, PC World had previously released a news app, PCWorld Daily, which was built off the feeds from the website. PCWorld Digital Magazine, on the other hand, is built off the print magazine and, again, uses the hybrid model.

The hybrid model has a lot going for it as it doesn't require advertisers to create new artwork of the tablet edition – though I would hope that it might encourage a few agencies to realize that they should really be adjusting to the times and producing more interactive advertising for tablets. My assumption is – and I would be shocked if I were wrong – is that print advertisers are not being charged extra for the digital edition.

Unfortunately, that is not the case for print subscribers – they get screwed, something many publishers seem to get a kick out of. Yep, if you subscribe to the print edition of PCWorld they will make you pay again: $6.99 per single issue, or a monthly subscription of $1.99. (Currently a print subscription can be had for $19.99 a year.)

The current issue weighs in at 267.2 MB, which seems large for a magazine without multimedia content and with only portrait layouts. The reason is probably that the books is fairly large and all those 'retina' resolution graphics are going to eat up storage space.

Is this tablet edition good enough to make you want to cancel your print subscription? No.

Like the Macworld tablet edition, this new PCWorld digital magazine is not an imaginative take on the tablet platform. The layouts are nice and well produced (though there appears to be a black "page" in the middle of the Security Alert section). But the editors have let their readers down here by not visualizing the tablet edition as anything other than a simple conversion from print. The PCWorld app may not be a replica, but the thinking behind it is replica all the way.

Left: PCWorld uses a hybrid approach whereby the ads are taken directly from print. Here, the first "page" of this ad makes no sense until you swipe to the adjoining page; Middle: The TOC and the rest of the editorial content is reformatted for the tablet; Right: Illustrations look fantastic on the new iPad, and the layouts are well done.