Wednesday, January 30, 2013

South Carolina public utility, Santee Cooper, launches a tablet edition for its quarterly magazine PowerSource

When it comes to print, many publishing companies long ago created vibrant, successful custom publishing divisions. In the area of digital, however, one continues to see publishers lagging. Part of the problem, of course, is the number of publishers that have chosen to outsource their own digital initiatives – whether they website development, or mobile and tablet applications, many media firms continue to see digital media as outside their area of expertise.

It doesn't take a genius to see how damaging this will be in the future as clients look to either new custom publishing firms to launch their first mobile or tablet editions, or else build their own capabilities in-house.

Some companies, of course, already have their own corporate communications divisions. These in-house corporate communications divisions are, like the mainstream media, beginning to launch their own first, sometimes tentative, digital publishing initiatives inside the Apple Newsstand and elsewhere.
 photo PowerSource-column-sm_zps221678ac.gif
PowerSource is the quarterly magazine from Santee Cooper, the state of South Carolina's state-owned electric and water utility and the state's largest power producer. PowerSource, the app, is the digital edition for that magazine.

On the Santee Cooper website on can find the PDF version of the brand magazine and my expectation was that this new app, to be found inside the Newsstand, would simply be a replica edition based on that PDF. But to my surprise I found a natively designed app, mostly one that used the Adobe DPS platform.

The magazine has a small folio, we're not talking Vogue here, and it is quarterly, as I said. So the publisher could decide to provide readers with both portrait and landscape layouts and still keep the file size down to an easy download. But at just over 100 MB one immediately knows that this isn't a replica.

PowerSource's new digital edition puts many, many (too many) digital magazines to shame with its design and easy to read formatting for the iPad. Any consumer or trade publishing house with a custom publishing division would be wise to look at this free app and then assess their own digital publishing efforts. I wouldn't be startled to learn one day that platform owners, such as Mag+ or the soon to launch PRSS, see custom publishing as a good way to add a revenue source to efforts (hey, I'll run the division if they'd like!).

Here is a very brief walk-through the new app edition of PowerSource, seen in landscape: