Monday, May 20, 2013

Hearst's Esquire magazine launches weekly tablet editions inside their Newsstand app to attract new readers

Hears Magazine's Esquire has begun publishing weekly tablet editions inside of its iPad Newsstand app. The weekly editions will be priced at $0.99 a piece, but will be free to those readers who already are subscribing to the iPad edition and will appear every Thursday other than on the week the main magazine becomes available.

Of course, print readers, who already are forced to subscribe again to access the digital editions, are once again locked out.

"Esquire Weekly is a little gift," writes editor in chief David Granger inside the first weekly edition. "To you, yes, our readers on the iPad. But to ourselves, too. Every time we expand Esquire's purview, each time we find a new way to broaden the topics we cover and morph the ways in which we cover them, it offers us new opportunities that always, sooner or later, surprise us by blossoming into something we really like, something really good."

The new weekly edition is, as you'd expect, not a massive issue. But it contains a fair, and maybe even generous amount of material. This isn't a Kindle Single, this is an actual tablet weekly magazine.

The design is consistent with Esquire's native tablet design (they are using the Adobe DPS) and is not overly complicated. But Esquire's staff is large enough to handle this (easy for me to say, right?) and so the added real estate can serve not only editorial purposes but advertising ones, as well.

Further, this move will reinforce Hearst's not so subtle attempt to drive readers to digital delivery. Though they do not say so, their policy of forcing print readers to choose between the postal service and Apple's Newsstand is leading to Hearst being able to brag about its digital numbers while simultaneously driving down print production costs.

"With the evolving ways our app subscribers and readers seek and interact with the magazine’s material, a weekly digital edition provides them with another way to access Esquire’s rich editorial on their tablet in an easily digestible format," Granger said in the magazine's announcement. "The weekly edition blends the best of new and traditional media and includes long-form content, recurring columns, video and more from our renowned writers covering a wide range of men’s lifestyle topics."

As for the app itself, Hearst will need to issue an update soon. Recent reader reviews inside the App Store have been universally bad due to continuing bugs involving issue downloads. The app, come to think of it, may not be the source of the problem, as download issues are often caused by the hosting service, subscription verification services, etc. Nonetheless, readers are not happy about the problems, though the new weekly issues may placate a few of them.

Here is a brief walk-though the first weekly issue of Esquire: