Friday, February 15, 2013

B2B publisher Macfadden releases its third tablet edition, new app for Grocery Headquarters continues Mag+ use

The B2B publisher Macfadden Communications launched its first tablet edition for one of its trade industry magazines in April of last year: Pizza Today was the first of what was to be roll out of its titles for the iPad (see TNM original post here).

The effort was, and is, being led by Michael Davis, director of digital services, and his team at Macfadden in New York. The goal, Davis told me last year, was to train the staff as they progressed. For the app for Pizza Today, which is published out of Louisville, Kentucky, Josh Keown was sent to NY to learn the Mag+ platform. "Josh is very savvy in this department," Pizza Today's editor Jeremy White told me when that tablet edition was launched.

In January of this year Macfadden launched its second tablet edition, this one for Beverage World, a 34,010 circulation B2B title (see TNM original post here).

Yesterday the newest tablet edition appeared for Grocery Headquarters, an industry leading trade journal with a circulation of 33,120 as of its last BPA audit.

Grocery Headquarters HD is a hybrid edition like the others – that is, the print ads appear here as they would in print, but the editorial pages have been reformatted for the iPad's display.

Like all the Macfadden tablet editions, the apps is free of charge to download, and the content can be accessed without charge, as well. For Macfadden the key issue simply is making the issues available to those who want to read their magazines on a tablet.

"Right now the key is that we've had enough people say to us that they want the magazine on an iPad and we're responding to that," Seth Mendelson, the publisher and editorial director told me yesterday. Issues such as tablet advertising will be considered later.

"Like everybody else in this business we feel that to some degree – to a large degree I'll say – is in the digital world."

Left: an article layout from the iPad edition; Right: the same page in print

Grocery Headquarters is one of those B2B titles that makes into my own house every month – both because I used to publish a B2B food magazine and Grocery HQ was a competitor, and because my wife is in the grocery advertising business at a digital media company and needs to keep up with the news in the industry. Comparing the editorial page layouts in the new tablet edition with the print pages one can see that they are quite similar. The difference is that the layouts have been simplified quite a bit in the iPad editions, while font sizes have been increased making reading easier in this tablet edition than in the typical replica edition.

As is typical with hybrid tablet editions, the ads are not resized for the iPad. Because of the size of Grocery Headquarters this means the ad pages are a bit short for the tablet's display. To compensate, the iPad edition ads the magazine's logo at the top of the ad pages, which I think is a nice tough (see below-middle). For some reason, though, the cover was not reformatted for the tablet edition (as you can see below-left).

Another interesting decision was to make the two-page spreads able to be swiped. In most replica editions, and in most hybrids, as well, the reader goes from one half of the two-page spread to the other as if they were separate pages. Here, the reader can swipe to access a continuous image of the ad. It is a much better solution (which you can see below-right).