Thursday, April 18, 2013

Skateboarder Magazine swaps out PixelMag replica editions for a brand new interactive magazine, but slow download speeds for larger issues brings a world of hurt

The publisher of Skateboader Magazine is clearly enthusiastic about their moves in digital media, at least if the title's press release is any indication. The pioneering skateboarding magazine launched a new interactive digital magazine, replacing the replica editions produced by PixelMags.

But for readers the first impression will be a world of hurt experienced when trying to download their first issue.

The file size of 455.6 MB signifies that an interactive magazine is on the way. But when it will ever stop downloading is the big question. The server speed is so slow that it reminds me of the early days of music downloads when a 3MB song took 15 to 20 minutes. One didn't know any better so we lived with it. But readers are not going to be happy having to wait 20 minutes of more for the arrival of their digital magazine. (It took over half an hour to complete the download of Issue 1.)

"This audience lives online, so it was necessary for us to create content platforms that meet their needs and bring them the unique editorial voice of Skateboarder in an expanded digital format," said GrindMedia Senior Vice President Norb Garrett.

"By making the digital issue free and accessible to all skateboarders worldwide through our website and digital newsstands, we are expanding our content reach with the goal of engaging a greater skate audience. Over the past year, our website traffic has grown 180 percent due to our investment in proprietary video platforms and expanded editorial, reinforcing our view that this audience demands more of a digital focus."

The new digital magazine is designed to be read in landscape. This not allows the publisher to take advantage of the iPad's display dimensions, but also allows for the magazine to be read online in the same design.

“Whether it be our website, iPad/iPhone apps or print, Skateboarder will be everywhere skateboarders live," said Skateboarder publisher Jamey Stone.

The magazine won't abandon print completely, plans are to produce a limited-edition collectible magazine six times per year available exclusively at skateboard retail shops. These print magazines will, in effect, be replica editions of the digital magazine – something I believe we'll see more of in the future.

Skateboarder is published by Source Interlink Media’s GrindMedia.