Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Mag+ updates its reviewer app to add support for the iPhone; single issue pricing is raised to $999 per issue

With the release of iOS 6 today from Apple, due in a matter of hours, tons of app updates are flooding the App Store. Some updates, like that for the universal app for Bloomberg Businessweek+, are specifically to make sure their apps are iOS 6 compliant (and in this case, to also add in retina support).
But the update to the Mag+ Reviewer app coincides with the release of version 4.0 of the Mag+ platform.

Prior to the app update, Mag+ maintain two separate apps for the iPad and iPhone. But the update makes Mag+ Reviewer a universal app now. The update also adds a library to the app so a designer can store for review in the app.

As for version 4.0 of Mag+, Mike Haney writes on the Mag+ website that the underlying code has been completely rewritten.

"The old codebase was written before the iPad even existed—it was a herculean effort done in the 61 days between iPad announcement and launch," Haney writes. "But the Mag+ has evolved a lot since those early days, as has the iPad, and the code has just been continuously bolted onto for the past two years, making it ever harder for our devs to work with. So six months ago, we asked ourselves: 'If you were building a Mag+ reader today, how would you build it?'"

The code change improves the resolution of page previews and makes changes to the user interface.

The new version is, as you'd expect, iOS 6 compliant.

Prospect clients yesterday noticed a major change in the pricing of single issues created with Mag+. Previously the company offered a Per Issue option priced at $199. But the company has raised the price of this option substantially, now pricing the Per Issue option at $999.

The price level effectively ends the company's limited feature offering and creates a new single issue product. Mag+ admits it is reacting to a new pricing scheme at Adobe.

"We heard loud and clear from our clients that they don't want to choose between features and price. So we killed the limited feature app - everybody gets everything we offer - no upsells, no add-ons," Haney told TNM this morning. "And we also heard emphatically that publishers want the flexibility of paying only when they publish, rather than locking into a monthly fee while they're still testing and exploring the market. And, we still let clients host themselves or pay us only for the data they serve, so they don't get have to invest up front in expensive monthly downloads."

"We know that you now have the option of a single-issue app on Adobe for $395 for $600 less than our lowest-cost app. At the same time, for some of the things we offer at $999, you'd have to go to Adobe's Enterprise model, which costs tens of thousands of dollars per year," Haney said.

"But we're not in a price war on the app front. That would be suicidal for us - we're a lean startup focused entirely on digital publishing and we already give away the tools, so we gotta charge for something to stay in business; they're a behemoth who could give away apps if they wanted to. That's why we have to just keep focusing on making sure that while we offer similar capabilities, there are plenty of differences—in cost, capability, culture, support, workflow—and that clients checking out both solutions will often find us the one that makes most sense for them. And if not, we wish them luck!"