This morning the company's new tablet edition for the Greek edition of Marie Claire has made it through the Apple app review process and hit the App Store.
ΜΟΥΣΑ (Mousa) – Greek App Store link, here is the US App Store link – is a stand-alone app that used the Adobe Digital Publishing Suite, Single Edition platform. The Single Edition solution is an inexpensive way ($395) to get a single issue app into the App Store – once you've made the major investment in the Adobe DPS, of course – and it allows developers an opportunity to work with the platform prior to possibly launching an app that features Newsstand support (Mousa is placed inside the Lifestyle category).
This is the third app for the iPad from Lambrakis to hit the App Store and is certainly the best to date (though this app, Σίφνος, looks interesting, as well).
The team behind the app is Galateia Laskaraki, the Editor-in-Chief, Stelios Sofianos, the project leader is the Editorial Director for Digital Media, Nikos Gkouraros, Director of Strategy, Operations and Business Development, Lambrakis Press Digital Media / President of the Online Publishers Association of Europe. The magazine is designed by Leonidas Tsitopoulos, Konstantinos describes himself as "a humble producer."
I would love this app even if I didn't know any of the players behind it. The single edition uses landscape to create native tablet page layouts, and the app has multimedia elements that add to the tablet magazine experience without distracting from it.
The app description, when very roughly translated, says this about the app:
For the first time in Greece, a Lifestyle app serves as a new platform for expression and experimentation for people who want the magazine to create vivid images and interactive fashion using exciting technology.As the first tablet edition for Mousa (Muse in English), the choice to go with a Single Edition is probably a good one, and a great way to experiment and see what the reader reaction is. When I was in Greece I saw few iPads, and those that I saw were in the hands of tourists.
Apple does not have any retail stores in Greece, though the iPad is available through retailers. Exactly how many iPads are in circulation in Greece is a tough question to answer, but there is a Greek App Store, of course. If I had to guess, I would estimate around 60,000 iPads in Greece based on 2011 numbers I've seen for tablet sales, but I would no confidence in that number.
The app weighs in at 299 MB as the single edition must be self-contained. The download is quick, and because it is a single edition there is no library page obviously. So once the app is opened on is presented with the opening video cover.
The publisher decided to go with a single sponsor for the app, Cartier. I like this choice as I'm not sure it would have made sense to try and get new artwork for all the print advertisers, besides, the app edition is designed to be read in landscape.
If Lambrakis decides to create a Newsstand version of Mousa the team will once again have to decide what platform to use to create it, and whether to continue to go with landscape as the orientation. My guess is that they would want to move to portrait so that advertisers could move their ads into the tablet edition. But their choices here work and the app edition is an excellent first effort.
A quick look this morning inside the Greek App Store shows ΜΟΥΣΑ already listed as the #4 app in the Lifestyle category (free apps). ZARA for iPad comes in at #2, with US brands eBay and Amazon taking the first two spots.
As for Newsstand, that is also dominated by English language publications such as National Geographic, the NYT, The Economist and Good Food Magazine.
Clearly there is a lot of room for Greek language publications should publishers wish develop for tablets. Both the economy and the lack of Apple retail stores is a weight slowing growth in the Greek market, but I suppose one could argue that this also buys publishers a bit of time, as well.
Here is a brief walk-through the beginning of the Single Edition of ΜΟΥΣΑ. Any stuttering in navigation is the fault of the video, not the app itself. I found the app to be quite responsible and quick and easy to navigate.