Wednesday, September 5, 2012

B2B Day: Rogers Publishing launches a new tablet edition for Canadian Grocer, modeled on the original print design, but modified to provide a good tablet reading experience

With the demise or decline of such once-powerful B2Bs as Reed Business Information, Nielsen, McGraw-Hill and others, the U.S. B2B industry doesn't seem to have companies that can provide leadership when it comes to exploring the new digital publishing platforms of mobile and tablets.

Rogers Publishing, on the other hand, part of the giant Canadian media conglomerate Rogers Communications, may be in a unique position to invest in the tablet publishing platform. The company has a portfolio of both consumer and B2B title. Probably its most famous, Maclean's, first appeared in the App Store with a tablet edition in January of 2011.
The design of this tablet edition for Canadian Grocer looks oh-so much like a replica edition that one is very tempted to call it that. The tablet page looks just as you would expect the print edition to look but without the page folios at the bottom of each page.

But when you compare the Zinio version of Canadian Grocer to the iPad app version the differences start to appear.

Yes, those page folios are gone, but the text and layouts are ever so slightly different. For instance the TOC almost look identical but the page numbers that are layered onto the pictures are missing. Further along you see an ad gone, then the stories appear similar as in print but not exactly.

This, then, is a digital edition designed to replicate print in look and feel, but redesigned just enough to make reading easier and more attractive on the iPad – certainly more attractive than having the print page reduced to fit the iPad's screen.

All the ads are all from Unilever, so it appears that a single-sponsor model is being employed, a very good solution to the problem of how to incorporate ads into the first tablet edition one produces.

Canadian Grocer is a free app that also is offering the first issue found inside for free. But unlike many other B2B titles, this one will be charging going forward: $59.99 CAD for an annual subscription, or $11.99 CAD for single issues (expensive, but still less than the print subscription price).

But current print subscribers will be able to log into their accounts and access their issues for free.

I looked all around the magazine's website and through its media kit and could not determine if Canadian Grocer is a 100 percent paid circulation magazine. This is an important point because if some readers are getting the magazine for free because they part of the Canadian grocery business then this app is employing the kind of strategy I have advocated for many U.S. B2B magazines: charge for the issues but let current subscribers gain access by logging into the app.

I really like many of the decisions the publishing team has made here (Jennifer Litterick is the publisher, Rob Gerlsbeck is the editor, and Rhonda Wrong is the art director), whether the team was free to make their own choices or were following a corporate dictate I don't know as my calls to the magazine were not returned.

Because the app offers the August issue free, I would strongly recommend that other B2B publishers take a good look at this new app from Canadian Grocer as it might be a good model to follow when launching their own first tablet editions into the Apple Newsstand.

1 Comment:

Anonymous said...

being in the grocery industry...this is AWESOME!!! the publisher should be awarded, promoted and cheered...thanks for bring this to market