Wednesday, February 20, 2013

GIE Media's 'A Garden Life' gets some love from Apple, tablet-only magazine app featured in Newsstand

It may seem like a minor thing to a lot of media people, but for a B2B company to get their tablet magazine featured inside the iTunes App Store can be a big thing – it can be the break they were looking for.

Apple recently added A Garden Life to its New and Noteworthy selection of publication apps promoted in the iTunes App Store in the Newsstand category. A total of 34 magazine apps are currently being promoted, and the good news for GIE Media's app is that it is the tenth app listed, making it visible for many readers perusing the App Store.

The app is a bit special, GIE Media is, after all, known as a B2B magazine company, publishing such titles industry titles as Lawn & Landscape (see TNM post on the title's new native tablet edition).

What makes A Garden Life different is that it is targeted to the consumer market – plus it is digital-only. "We've been working on A Garden Life for the past year," Chris Foster, President and COO of GIE Media, told me recently.

"We decided that the only way for a B2B publisher to compete in the consumer magazine industry is to make a digital-only magazine, but we wanted to make it very engaging and very rich. So we used the Apple platform, because if you take a look at most of our downloads some 96 percent are on the iOS platform, the remainder are on Android or (Kindle) Fire or something else," Foster said.

The app for the digital magazine is universal, and the designers made sure that the iPhone edition was native, as well, not just a port over of the tablet design – taking a similar approach as BJPhoto.

I don't know if the decision to pursue native tablet editions influenced Apple's decision to help promote this particular magazine app, but it certainly can only help downloads. With no other consumer magazines to help promote the digital magazine, reaching readers can be difficult.

It may appear to be a minor thing, but any kind of promotion inside the Newsstand, especially with Apple's recent redesign that makes finding new magazine and newspaper apps even more difficult, can be a big boost for a publisher.