Mag+ Challenges Publishers to Re-Imagine the Issue

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Three Years and 1,000 Apps Later, Mobile Publishing Pioneer Offers Four Key Factors for Success in Making Great Apps

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“Touchscreen devices and apps are the future, and content has never been more in demand or as potentially profitable.”

After three years and more than 1,000 touchscreen publication apps, Mag+ and its customers have learned how to unleash the power of this important medium. Contrary to the word of uninformed doomsayers, Mag+ believes with some imagination and intelligent investment, issue-based mobile publishing has a bright future as both traditional periodicals and new content brands take advantage of the mobile app-based environment to reinvent publishing. Clients are finding great new revenue streams, using creativity to win brand loyalty and sales, and the custom content world is taking off.

Mag+ powers some of the most innovative touchscreen publications to date, including the newly released New York magazine app, The Next Web, and British Journal of Photography. Other clients include WWE, Toyota, Outside, The Nation, Mental Floss,The Old Farmer’s Almanac, and Chicago Tribune. See the Mag+ blog for great examples of Mag+-enabled client successes.

The Mag+ commitment to design, elegant simplicity of use, and creative flexibility translates into apps that engage. According to aggregate Mag+ analytics data, the average time spent in a session on a Mag+ client app has increased 53 percent year over year. Average sessions per user have increased 58 percent and the average time spent per individual user has increased 140 percent year over year.

“There is remarkable opportunity for smart publishers and other brands to make money by rethinking what, when and how they serve their audiences,” says Mag+ Chief Creative Officer and co-founder Mike Haney. “By thinking creatively about the best content for all channels available to them, including mobile, publishers can be the drivers, the innovators of the next boom in content.”

Four Insights Gained

Publishing Reinvented –Thinking about tribes, right content and right time, Mag+ predicts smart brands will figure out new ways to deepen their audience relationships by moving beyond monthly issues to a community membership model, where content arrives in all forms on a variety of devices on a regular and ongoing basis. Membership could include a premium print publication, a dynamic HTML website for up-to-the-minute news, apps that have utility on the go and deliver more frequent issues, push alerts for breaking news, even events, webinars and other ways to connect directly with the brand.

There is consumer revenue here –Smart publishers can monetize on a mobile publishing platform like Mag+. Since its inception PopSci+ has grown to 100,000 digital subscribers across all tablets, made $1.56M net from iTunes through 1.6 million unique downloads, and sold 180,000 single copies. Downloads and revenue numbers are on the rise within Mag+ client American Media, Inc., as well. For Men's Fitness, Sept 2011 - Jan 2012 vs. five months prior downloads are up 200 percent and revenue is up 193 percent, as that brand and others moved from a PDF-replica to custom designed Mag+ version of the magazine. SHAPE Magazine’s Sept 2011 - Jan 2012 vs. five months prior downloads are up 400 percent and revenue is up 218 percent. Many publications are now able to charge more for their iPad subscriptions than for print. They are also seeing more subscription purchases than single-issue purchases and renewal rates are far higher than with print publications at much lower cost.

Creativity wins the day in both experience and advertising – Companies that think creatively will be the first to take full advantage of the community membership model. Creative use of video, audio and imagery, such as moving magazine covers, content appropriate soundtracks and even games are the tools content companies now have at their disposal. The Next Web even used the Mag+ mobile publishing platform to create an issue-based app by curating the best of its popular blog content.

Advertisers are also finding new ways to engage audiences on touchscreen devices. Kashi cereal just created an ad camouflaged as a game, (or is it a game posing as an ad?), in SHAPE. While the advertising and publishing industries still have a long way to go in building a touchscreen ad paradigm, everyone agrees we will get there—there are simply too many eyeballs at stake not to make it work. In addition, the technology is the best platform advertisers have ever had to make users see their ads as a service and not a nuisance.

Custom media opportunities abound – While the overwhelming majority of content-heavy apps have been offshoots of traditional publications, Mag+ sees the custom content sector growing rapidly. Museums, comic books, performing arts venues and corporations are all evaluating the possibilities of app-based publishing. The Victoria & Albert museum in London created an app that showcases exhibitions, so you can see great exhibits wherever you are in the world; Dixons Travel, Europe's leading airport electrical store, launched Dixons Travel app, showcasing a host of gadgets; and Symbolia created an app that is a unique blend of comic book and journalism.

“Touchscreen devices and apps are the future, and content has never been more in demand or as potentially profitable,” said Gregg Hano. “We have never been more excited about this business—for us, for brands and for consumers.”

About Mag+:
Mag+ is a complete digital-publishing ecosystem comprising a plug-in for InDesign CS4-CS6, a powerful web-based backend, and white-labeled reader apps for iOS, Android and Kindle devices. It gives users the fastest, simplest publishing platform to create content optimized for touchscreen devices, without the need for programming skills. Mag+ premiered on the first iPad in April 2010 with the award-winning Popular Science+. Publishers and creatives have now built more than 1,000 apps, spanning Mad Magazine, Hemispheres (United Airlines), Toyota, WebMD, Outside, Shape and The Nation.

Mag+ also offers consultancy and creative services via Mag+ Studios. And for those who wish to create bespoke apps, the Mag+ App SDK allows any developer access to the Mag+ reader engine.

From publishers to catalog marketers, design agencies and app developers, Mag+ is ideal for anyone wanting to bring beautiful, immersive content to the millions using the new generation of digital devices.

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Linda Wakeham
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