Monday, February 4, 2013

City magazine Phoenix finds a comfortable middle ground between replica edition and native design

Let's start the new week with a series of short posts about new magazines to be found inside the Newsstand – some from established brands, others from new publishers.

The last few years have been tough ones for city/regional magazine publishers. While many regional magazine publishers were initially able to ward off ad page declines at the beginning of the recession, eventually the industry as a whole started to feel the effects of the depressed economy. Perhaps indicative of the slowdown is the fact that trade association that represents these publishers, the City and Regional Magazine Association, has updated their press release page in almost two years.

In addition, the new digital platforms of mobile and tablets seemed to not offer as much opportunity to regional publishers as it did national brands, due mostly to the low local penetration numbers. But this is beginning to change as more iPads and other tablets enter the market. Also, some publishers are seeing that there are some satisfactory digital publishing solutions available other than letting a vendor launch a replica edition.

Phoenix, published by Cities West Publishing Inc., has launched a new tablet edition that is a very comfortable mix of replica and reformatted editorial pages – a hybrid edition, as TNM calls them. The app's name is Phoenix Magazine . – with that period there, probably the result of having to rename the app during the process of launching it inside the Apple Newsstand (Apple doesn't allow separate apps from the same company using the same name - a potential problem for newspaper and magazine publishers rushing to launch a first app).
 photo Phoenix-editorsnote-iPad-sm_zpsd2ff5740.jpg
The new Newsstand app offers individual issues for $4.99. But a monthly subscription is only $1.99, and an annual subscription is $14.99.

Cities West Publishing has moved slowly but surely into tablet publishing. An earlier app, Phoenix Magazine 2012 Arizona Travel Guide, as a paid stand-alone app ($1.99), while Phoenix Home & Garden Magazine was its first Newsstand app. Both Newsstand apps allow current print subscribers to sign into their accounts to access the digital issues free of charge, though the Home & Garden app does have some user reviews complaining about this function.

A quick check of Google Play does not show any apps for these titles, though I did find two apps in's Android app store, though both look to me like they have been designed for Android smartphone consumption rather than Android tablet.