Wednesday, September 5, 2012

B2B Day: Cape Media launches its first tablet edition for Roads Ahead, the title that started the company

The South African B2B publisher Cape Media, which sells its apps under the name Kaqala Media Ltd., has been very busy launching new tablet editions for its portfolio of titles. In May the company launched apps for BBQ - Black Business Quarterly (post on BBQ here) and Service Magazine.

The new apps used a hybrid approach to design: the advertising remains as seen in print, while the editorial was redesigned specifically for the iPad. The biggest problem with BBQ, as far as I could see, was the enormous download size of the issue inside the app.
Cape Media's newest app is for Roads Ahead, the B2B title for the trucking industry that launched the company in 1997. The new app, Roads Ahead Magazine, continues the company's approach of redesigning for the iPad, but in a far more simplistic fashion.

With Roads Ahead Magazine, the ads are all missing (I am assuming there were ads) and so the edition found inside the app weighs in at less than 30 MB.

This app deals with many of the production issues facing B2B media firms by simplifying things: there is no multimedia here, no animations, no slideshows. This cuts down on both the file size and the amount of work involved, but allows the publisher to create an easy to read tablet edition.

The app and its content are free, and readers can subscribe through the app and receive their new editions free because the app resides inside Apple's Newsstand.

(Roads Ahead, the print magazine, is distributed to members of the Road Freight Association (RFA) in South Africa and so probably doesn't deal with the issue of qualification. On the other hand, it does not appear to be an "official" association magazine as I see no editorial from the RFA.)

While the new app supports the magazine brand, the app certainly lacks any business model because of its lack of advertising and no paid options. But this is just the latest app from Cape Media that has seven other titles in the Apple Newsstand: Blue Chip, Mining Prospectus, Ubunbtu Magazine, SA Medical Journal, Leadership Magazine, as well as BBQ and Service Magazine mentioned earlier.

Because of this, Cape Media will be in a good position to see what works and what doesn't for its industry audiences in South Africa.