Tuesday, January 22, 2013

The weekly music trade journal Billboard Magazine enters the Apple Newsstand with a new hybrid tablet edition

With their apps still showing up in the App Store under the name Prometheus Global Media, the publisher of such trade journals as Adweek and The Hollywood Reporter, has released their first tablet edition for Billboard Magazine.

Billboard Magazine, the app, is using the hybrid approach to creating its tablet edition: most print ads are as seen in print, while editorial pages are reformatted for the iPad. The result is an easy to read digital magazine that uses standard iPad magazine navigation of scrolling within stories and swiping to advance to the next feature.

This is the same approach used by its other tablet editions, Adweek Magazine and The Hollywood Reporter. The one thing I noticed that seemed a bit different, however, was the way 2-page spreads were handled. While many tab editions simply spread the two pages over two tablet pages, leading to parts of the ad making no sense, Billboard is choosing to reduce the size of the spread to a single page. It is possible that the art director chose to do this because the ad in question, for Fintage House, works find reduced down in this fashion – it is possible they wouldn't do this to an ad with smaller fonts.

The latest issue inside the app, which is used as a sample, is a smallish download – less than 100 MB. This is accomplished by making the tablet edition portrait-only, and by limiting multimedia features.
Left: the subscription pop-up that appears upon opening the app; Middle: the cover of the latest issue inside the app; Right: ads are as they appear in print, which is slightly shorter than the size of the iPad's display

The publishing company recently brought on Yahoo’s former interim-CEO Ross Levinsohn as its CEO, and announced that going forward the company would be renamed Guggenheim Digital Media.

"While there's digital in the title of this company, the importance of print goes without saying," Levinsohn said at the time of the announcement. "I don't think print is something that goes away."

The Prometheus Global Media name, though, is not going away quickly. The developer account at Apple remains under that name, and the Prometheus name appears here in the Masthead – though the new corporate name is there, as well.

Here is a walk-through video of the latest issue inside the app – which, by the way, can be downloaded free of charge so that a reader can sample both the publication and its tablet edition: