Friday, March 22, 2013

Auto Trader (UK) launches 'ignition' – an interactive digital magazine built using the FutureFolio publishing platform

This new native digital magazine, ignition, comes from the UK magazine Auto Trader, not to be confused with the U.S. company of the same name owned by Cox Enterprises and the PE firm Providence Equity Partners.

For the British company, this is the first app to be released into the Apple App Store under its own developer account – and it's quite an app, indeed.

Built using the digital publishing platform from Future plc, FutureFolio, ignition is a unique and innovative attempt at presenting a digital publication that has, at its heart, the mission of selling used cars. Readers simply interested in the autos featured here may not even bother to tap on the icon that takes them out of the app and to the Auto Trader website to browse the autos for sale. Others will find that to be the best feature.

The Newsstand app may have just been released yesterday, but there are already five issues inside the app's library to download. Single issues are priced £2.99 ($4.99 in the U.S), while a monthly subscription is priced at £1.99, and 3 months subscription at £3.99. The app is universal, but I think the presentation is best seen on the iPad.

The navigation is slightly irregular in that returning to the main menu involves tapping a button at the bottom-left of the page within the digital issue, rather than double tapping the page. Once you are aware of this there are no other problems I encountered with the app itself.

The digital issues are designed to be read in portrait only, which saves a bit of file size. The issue I downloaded, that latest, weighed in at 264 MB, with most of the heft taken up by the videos and photo galleries.

When you consider the two tablet editions I looked at today – ΜΟΥΣΑ #2 (TNM post here) and now ignition – you might get the impression that European publishers are way ahead of their American colleagues when it comes to building interactive tablet magazines. But Europe is releasing more than its fair share of replica editions, as well. But the work coming out of some publishers is definitely excellent, and definitely well ahead of many American companies. If I ran Classified Ventures, for instance, I certainly would be paying attention to what is going on across the pond.