Friday, May 3, 2013

WINE LR.: Balthazer Matita launches a new Apple Newsstand iPad app for its digital magazine focusing on the Languedoc Roussillon region

The flag for this new digital magazine is pretty cute – WINE LR. The designer has put part of the word "wine" in red, and the rest in white, so that the word can also read "vin" (wine in French, of course). Very cute, I love it.

And I also love wine, and I love wine from all over the world, and all over parts of France. Part of the joy of wine, I find, is in its discovery.

One region that doesn't get the big write-ups is Languedoc Roussillon, though if you live in the Bay Area you would be familiar with Kermit Lynch Wine Merchants which has specialized for decades in finding great wines in the less well-known wine districts of France.

Yesterday WINE LR. slipped into the Apple Newsstand and, as its name suggests, is dedicated to the wines of the region. Published by Balthazar Matita, a digital media publisher located in Aigues-Vives, France – which is near Montpellier, home to a famous school of enology.

Now, I don't know if you noticed that period at the end of the app's name. That is significant as this is actually the third app to be released from Balthazer Matita for Wine LR. There are two stand-alone apps that were previous release, both were universal – Wine LR (in French) and WINE LR EN (in English). Both apps were launched late last summer with updates issued in the fall.

WINE LR is really all about video and so must reimagine what a magazine is about. This is something that is near and dear to my heart because the more I get involved with both tablet magazine and interactive e-books the more I tend to think about the new digital platforms as being very distinct from print. I've always, always thought the tablet platform would be different from print – I learned to think this way from living through the dot com and Internet boom of the nineties. But, as usual, may print publishers are blind to this as they see the tablet platform merely as another distribution channel. What changes your mind about this, what puts the light bulb over your head, is getting hands-on with the platform.

Clearly the team at Balthazer Matita get it (and they should be named: Michel Redon, Director of Innovation and Head of Development;
Caroline Jauffret, Director of Production and Editorial Manager; and Carole Martin, Director of e-Marketing and Advertising).

While this new Newsstand app is very well done, it should be mentioned that the stand-alone apps are quite amazing, as well. The English language app opens to a short video and then allows you to download the stories. It is an interesting approach, and in many ways more unique than the new Newsstand app. But is also is missing the automatic download feature of a Newsstand app so it is possible that the publisher decided that the best way to handle new content would be through new issues inside a more traditional (if that is the right term) digital magazine format.

(I have to add that the stand-alone app features a story on Banyuls – yum!)

I hope, really, hope, that an English language version of the Newsstand app appears – it would be definitely worth paying for. (The new Newsstand app charges 0,90€ ($1.99) per issue and 9,99€ for a subscription.)

Here is a short look at the new WINE LR. Newsstand app: