Friday, January 11, 2013

Crain Communications releases new tablet edition for its B2B title Business Insurance

A new B2B tablet edition used to be a rare event, but things are starting to heat up. Crain Communications, which recently released a tablet edition for Crain's Chicago Business, today launched a tablet edition for its trade industry magazine Business Insurance.

Business Insurance Tablet Edition is an iPad edition that gives the reader a hybrid tablet edition – one where the print ads are pretty much as you would see them in print, but where the editorial pages are reformatted for the tablet.
The design is still somewhat influenced by print, as you will see in the walk-through video below, but the digital magazine is very readable and will be appreciated by those who are loyal readers of the B2B magazine.

Business Insurance is a BPA-audited weekly that has a little over 35,000 qualified non-paid subscribers and over 9,000 qualified paid subscribers. So the dilemma here is how to create a weekly digital magazine, and how to charge (or if to charge) for it.

The problem for B2B publishers, as I have written about before (so sorry to be repeating myself), is that there is no qualification method available to publishers. If Apple would hire me today to be their publisher liaison (do it!) I would be working with the B2B guys on creating a qualification mechanism that would encourage B2B publisher to launch their qualified circulation magazine on the iOS platform. Alas, there is no such mechanism today and so the trade publishing industry has been the slowest segment when it comes to launching tablet editions.

Here, with Business Insurance, Crain is letting their current subscribers log into the app to access the issues free of charge. Then new readers who want to access the issues can do so by buying an annual subscription for $149.99 (or individual issues for $9.99.)

For now the new app only contains a smallish sample issue )which is only a little over 30 MB in size) typical for apps just released into the Newsstand by Apple. I assume the app's store and library will begin to fill up with issues now that the app is live (in fact, as I am writing this, a new version of the sample issue is being loaded which is larger than the first sample as it is 183.1 MB in size – it contains a full issue with more advertising and features inside).

I should also note that while this new app is for the iPad, there is a reference on the magazine's website to interactive tablet editions for the Nexus, Kindle and Samsung Galaxy tablets, as well. I did not find an app inside Google Play this morning, but a new app may be coming very soon.