Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Haymarket Business Media and Dennis Publishing release new tablet editions that use the Pugpig framework

Keeping on the theme of the Brits, here are two new tablet editions released today. Each was built using the Pugpig app framework, and each is offering readers a chance to sample the new tablet editions free of charge for a limited time.

Campaign Magazine is published by Haymarket Business Media and is the weekly trade journal for the advertising industry in the U.K. Think of it as the AdAge of Britain, I suppose. Because of this the magazine has the challenge of either developing a tablet magazine format app, like AdWeek's tablet edition, or else go to an app that automates more of the process, similar to what Crain launched for Crain's Chicago Business (and one assumes they will launch for AdAge).
The solution is to create an app that is more like a mobile app, with sections that bring in the articles using feeds. Some critics of this approach say that this is pretty much what a website does, and since search is a problem within apps, this doesn't really solve the problem.

But one could argue that this is true mostly for free publications and free websites. Once a paywall is introduced than the goal is to create the most attractive and easy to read tablet edition and to sell subscriptions – this app does both efficiently.

Campaign Magazine may be B2B, it it is a paid circulation magazine, so it does not deal with the issue facing many B2Bs media firms, how to bring their qualified circulation magazine to the Newsstand. Here a 3 month subscription is £44.99, while a 6 month subscription is £89.99, pretty much the same price as the print product.
Auto Express comes from Dennis Publishing, and it, too, is a weekly publication. This consumer magazine is charging £17.49 for a 3 month subscription, £34.99 for a 6 month subscription, and £69.99 for an annual subscription.

The publishing team at Auto Express have opted for a more magazine-like look for their tablet edition. Even though the app can be read in landscape, its true design is portrait. The one issue available inside features several interactive ads, which is interesting if you think about it – the advertising trade magazine launched ad-less while the consumer magazine has interactive ads from Mazda, Jaguar and Remington.

Auto Express is definitely thinking advertising here: "Auto Express iPad edition is the perfect platform for advertisers wishing to create ground-breaking interactive campaigns, with unique adverts from Jaguar, Mazda and Remington Touch all booked prior to its release," said James Burnay, publishing director in the magazine's own post on the new app.

As mentioned above, both apps were created using the Pugpig app framework. What one notices is that for native apps they both are creating fairly modest sized issues: Campaign's current issue comes in around 108 MB, while Auto Express is only 83 MB in size. The Auto Express app has tons of video inside, but this is merely links to outside served content. The result is less than optimal in that there is quite a lag between touching the video player and it delivering the goods (as you will see in the walk-through video below).

The Auto Express tablet edition is also a bit of a challenge for my third generation iPad to handle. The navigation was stickily and lagged occasionally. I would assume the performance would be better on a newer tablet.

The Pugpig platform is not terribly cheap for a one-off digital magazine, though prices improve if you have a portfolio of titles. The price for one annual license is £4,000, but drops from there down to as low as £800 if you use the platform for 20 titles or more. But Pugpig makes it complicated in that the first license will still cost you £4,000, while the second through fifth costs £2,000 each, the sixth through tenth costs £1,600, and so on until you get to that 20th license.

Here is the traditional walk-through video, this time one video for both digital magazines: