Tuesday, December 11, 2012

First look: Eco traveller, a new digital travel magazine start-up from Focus Media Communications Ltd.

Several new tablet editions grabbed my attention this morning but I couldn't get myself to write about them, for one reason or another. CEPro, from EH Publishing, would be a natural tablet edition for me to look at as it is B2B – but the app is a replica edition, produced by Superior Media Solutions, so it offers nothing new for publishers already familiar with this approach to the tablet platform. The Weekly Standard also has a new tablet edition which looks native – it comes from OPUBCO Communications Group. But the problem with this new app is that it promises a free issue in the app description, but not so in the app itself, and if you think I'm going to pay to read William Kristol, well, that's not happening.

That left the new digital magazine Eco traveller as the logical choice to write about. The free app was released last month, and today Alban Bizet, who is credited with design in the tablet magazine, left a comment on this site pointing to their app.

The app comes from Focus Media Communications Ltd., a UK company that says it is an "an Independent company, offering communications services worldwide." That would lead one to believe that this is a custom publishing project, but there is very little information that supports that as the website created for the magazine offers little information on the digital magazine beyond links to the Apple App Store, as well as Amazon and Google Play.
The app I looked at is the iOS app, of course – good for both the iPhone/iPod touch and the iPad. The iPhone version is not optimized for the iPhone 5. In fact, the fragmentation of the iPhone platform with the larger display of the "5" does create both design and development issues for magazine publishers wanting a magazine-like experience on the device.

The app and its contents are free of charge, and the app is native in both design and navigation, as you can see in the video below. The download is pretty painfully slow, so it is not exactly airport WiFi friendly in that area.

The tablet app has not gotten a lot of attention, which is no doubt why TNM got the comment today. But it is really the company's own fault. Neither the supporting website nor the magazine itself gives you an idea of the mission of the magazine, or those behind it.

But as you'll see in the video, it is an interesting looking digital magazine. It makes a good comparison with TRVL which takes a more minimal approach to both design and editorial content, while emphasizing the photography. TRVL's team is also quite adept at promoting itself and its digital magazine, something that will come in handy when they launch their own digital publishing platform, PRSS.

Here is a short walk-through the one issue of Eco traveller to be found in the new Newsstand application. The issue is dated October and numbered #00. The app was last updated on November 28 and for now the app description does not tell us when we can expect its next issue.


Linda McCormick said...

Damn new media. Everything moves so fast these days that if you don't move as quickly as the other guys your ideas can be swiped from right under your nose!

I wonder how much space there is in new media for two apps of the same name?

I've been running a site called Eco Traveller for a few years, have the Eco Traveller Magazine url ( as intended to eventually go to a mag), but haven't quite got around to thinking about apps yet. Too slow!

I'd love to know more about the people behind the app, too.

Alban Bizet said...


I'm in charge of the design of eco traveller as you mentioned.

Focus media is a small company working mainly in the publishing business for titles like UEFA official guide, far away from eco traveller, but this project is one on our own, we launch this project in October, but the idea was there since the launch of the iPad.

We try with eco traveller to give readers a nice experience on iPad or Android tablets combine with great editorials on various places around the world, if you have other questions let me know.