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Posts Tagged ‘magazine apps’

Conde Nast Introduces Gourmet the Zombie

In Uncategorized on June 22, 2010 at 4:34 pm
NEW YORK - OCTOBER 05:  Copies of Gourmet maga...

Image by Getty Images via @daylife

So, today Conde Nast — which I generally approve of as they regularly provide quality content and keep several people I know gainfully employed — showed just how shallow they can be.

Some eight months after they shuttered the venerable publication, Conde Nast announced this morning, the magazine would return — sort of — as an app.

“By focusing on a new way to meet consumer needs, tap into our deep branding, and approach our content differently, we came up with a product that re-imagines Gourmet and revalues engagement,” said Conde Nast President and CEO Charles Townsend.

In other words:

They’re taking all the archives — the great articles, the brilliant photography and scrumptious recipes — from the magazine’s 68 years and repackaging them so they’re available in app form.

And here’s the key part of the release — “It will be free to download, with registration required, followed by paid content options.”

If you want to see a sort of creepy sounding video of how great life will be with the new app (it really does sound like something out of a science fiction movie, listen to the voice), go here.

So, unlike epicurious.com — Conde Nast’s great website with all the recipes from Gourmet, Bon Appetit and their other publications — which is free and, I suspect, on its way out given today’s announcement, Conde Nast plans to charge monthly for content that you’ve probably already paid for at least once (more, if you’ve bought the cookbooks).

And, the best part yet — there’s no indication that they’ll actually be providing new content!!

So, all those writers, editors, photographers… they’re pretty much still looking for work.

At the press conference, this new Gourmet was compared to Wired Magazine’s brilliant app edition, the first issue of which was downloaded more than 90,000 times.

One of the key differences, of course, is that Wired contained new content, not repackaged old content.

This is not the future of publishing. I suspect a lot can be read into the fact that they highlight in the press release that the app is being developed in collaboration with a strategy and technology consulting company.

This comes across as a somewhat craven attempt to make an extra buck. Yes, I’m aware they are also promising it will have a social network component. My feeling is use Epicurious as much as possible before they close that, too, and join Facebook.

If I’m wrong, I’ll apologize.

And what of Ruth Reichl, the brilliant writer and editor who had helped revive Gourmet, she apparently wasn’t even mentioned at the press conference.

On Twitter, though, she had this to say:

“They’re reviving the brand, not the magazine. Pity.”

They’re creating a zombie. Taking something that had been killed and reanimating it. Only without its soul.

For Entertainment Weekly, Tag is It

In Entertainment, Technology, Uncategorized on April 16, 2010 at 10:27 am

Well, maybe.

The New Issue of EW has been "Tag"-ed

While there has been a lot of focus on magazines developing “app” versions of their magazines as they try to find new ways to reach readers — Time Magazine has done it, GQ has done it, just to name two of many —   some still believe that there’s something to be said for holding the thing in your hand and flipping through the pages.

At the same time, they recognize that maybe there’s some middle ground incorporating the print version of the magazine and the ability to go online for a little extra content.

So, welcome to Microsoft Tag.

In Microsoft hyperbole terms, Tag is “a breakthrough technology that transforms everyday things in the real world into live links to online information and entertainment.”

In normal speak, it’s a souped-up barcode that — after software is downloaded — allows for more much information and takes pretty much any reader with a camera-enhanced phone that can surf the web to make the journey from print to online.

While Tags have generally been used in advertising, Entertainment Weekly, which is out today with their summer movie preview, is taking a big step forward incorporating them into editorial content — allowing readers to jump from the page to trailers for 20 of the previewed films.

In addition to the trailers, readers will be able to visit “Tag”ed content from five advertisers.

While EW’s first effort with a new technology wasn’t as successful as they had hoped — according to Mediaweek, only about 5,000 people (out of EW’s 10 million-plus readers) made the digital jump when they worked with a different vendor — they think they’ve got the kinks worked out and more issues should be on their way.

Entertainment Weekly is saying that this first time anyone has used third party video content within edit though it is worth mentioning that Golf Digest used Tags in their November issue to allow readers to see extra content such as video of lessons being described.

So, what’s it all mean? Is having Tag technology going to save magazines? Who knows.

Here’s the thing… a couple of years ago, Gawker reported a rumor that EW was considering going online-only like the Christian Science Monitor. They actually didn’t appear to mean anything bad by it… they were saying the magazine’s ad pages were down (important to note they are back up; a spokesman says up from last year so far) and circulation while very good, was somewhat stagnant (which still seems to be the case), while their web traffic was just terrific.

I think what EW has done with this issue — and Golf Digest, previously — is recognize that it’s not an either/or situation. People like holding magazines, books, newspapers… they also like to go online.

So, while I am pretty much a Mac person, I have to give kudos to Microsoft for a technology that seems able to help bridge the gap between the two media.

Will more publications follow EW? Will EW follow itself and develop specialized content beyond links to ads and movie trailers?

Hopefully.