Monday, February 4, 2013

First look at Outland Moto, a new independent digital magazine for adventure motorcycle touring

Here is the second of a series of short posts about new magazines to be found inside the Newsstand – some from established brands, others from new publishers.

Magazine launches that originate in the offices of major publishers generally are well thought out ventures where the launch includes a professionally assembled media kit, press releases and launch parties. But new digital magazines from individuals or small, independent start-ups often are seat-of-the-pants affairs where an app is launched and only later is any thought given to marketing, ad sales and the like.

Even start-ups like Marco Arment's The Magazine appears to launch first move on to marketing. Luckily for Arment, Apple is helping him in a big way by currently promoting his independent digital magazine inside the App Store.
 photo TheMagazine-apple-promo-sm_zps45ef1a88.png
Unfortunately, few independent publishers get this kind of marketing help from Apple. In fact, Apple's App Store redesign has really stuck it to their developer partners by making it virtually impossible to find new apps, and by promoting the big media companies.

But that doesn't mean that there aren't still new digital magazine launches coming from independents. No, the efforts of individual publishers, inspired by the iPad and the lowering (though not the eliminating) of financial barriers to magazine launches, has gotten hundreds of would-be publishers to work.

One of those are the folks behind Outland Moto, a new digital-only magazine launched this weekend into the Newsstand. Jim Vota is the editor/publisher, while AL Minotti is the Technology Director/CTO – it is his name the app appears under inside the App Store.

The new magazine is free to subscribe to and is designed exclusively for landscape reading. There is currently one issue to be found inside the app, labeled as Issue 0.

The digital magazine itself weighs in at around 72 MB, mostly because the content is fairly limited. The app, though, put a bit of a strain my on "new iPad", and as you will see in the video below, my iPad took a while to render the pages after each swipe. But other than the tiny fonts used (which should be increased in size for easier reading) the digital magazine is well designed and a native tablet read.

Looking through the supporting website one sees that the team behind Outland Moto is ahead of the game, already hosting a media kit in support of the new digital magazine. Prospective publishers will be interesting is seeing how the publisher is trying to work around the issue of ad pricing and demographics of a magazine that has just launched and is just now getting its first downloads.

Here is a brief walk-through Outland Moto: