Tuesday, April 30, 2013

B Culture Media launches quarterly digital-only magazine for its fashion website SHK – Seen Heard Known

A little over a decade ago the best reason to launch a website if you were a print publisher was to support your print publication. Early magazine websites were often just about promoting the print title. This made them easy to maintain since the basic information on the magazine was static. Eventually most magazine decided that they needed a more dynamic approach and began posting their content online, then building blogs, posting news, etc.

Today things have flipped a bit: the best reason to launch a magazine – a digital magazine – may be to support a website. The Next Web, for instance, launched a tablet magazine into the Apple Newsstand called TNW Magazine that both supports the online property and expands on it.

The reasons to launch a digital magazine can involve more than mere supporting another property, or even simply creating a brand extension. A tablet magazine can be used to tell the background stories of what appears online, to house long-form content, or to create content that contains more animation or other multimedia elements that are built right into the stories rather than merely being supplements to the online story.

The website SHK – seenheardknown.com – last week launched a digital-only magazine called SHK Magazine into the Apple Newsstand (the website seems to imply that the title will also be available for other platforms, as well). I was too busy to post about the new digital publication but an update released today made me return to it.

SHK Magazine was built using the Mag+ platform, and though the app is universal, the publisher – B Culture Media – did not reformat the new magazine specifically for the iPhone. As one can see by the screenshot above, the design does not not fill up the full screen of the iPhone 5 but rather one might call the iPhone version a digital replica of the tablet magazine. (Typically publishers that format for the iPhone choose portrait orientation for the mobile edition – see BJPhoto: iPhone Edition which also used the Mag+ platform, but launched a separate iPhone app to do it.)(

The new app contains one issue, the Spring 2013 edition (a flipbook of the Winter 2012 can be found still online).

On the iPad (retina) the issue downloaded weighs in at 403 MB, while on the iPhone the issue is 189 MB (the apps say they are slightly smaller than this, but this is what the device's Settings > Usage says the document is sized at).

The digital magazine is meant to be read in landscape, which saves a bit of files space. Using landscape-only makes a lot of sense for digital magazines about film and photography, and sometimes cooking. Fashion magazines have tough choices because models tend to be tall and thin and so the photos tend to lend themselves to portrait. I, personally, like landscape as the orientation of choice, but many people are now buying smaller tablets like the iPad mini or Kindle Fire so this will become a bigger and bigger issue over time.

The digital magazine is free of charge to access, and so publishers looking for inspiration for their own digital magazine projects should check out SHK Magazine. If you're too lazy, the short walk-through video below will give you a taste of what this new digital-only magazine looks like: