More Bells and Whistles, Please!
This just in from Adweek.com: Publishers are pulling back on enhanced apps, simplifying them in order to reach more people on more tablets! Time Inc. declares that interactive elements are "a secondary benefit!" And Hearst Magazines warns that enhancements are potentially distracting, confusing and irritating! Bah humbug, we reply!
Tell that to the next generation of readers, accustomed to flinging Angry Birds across a screen with their thumbs, sharing information with friends through Facebook and text messages, and mashing together content from various sources to customize their experience. And tell that to the advertisers who want nothing more than to attract that generation.
The tablet is where tomorrow's readers establish relationships with today's magazine brands. A passive stack of PDFs won't satisfy them, regardless of how many devices the publisher targets. Every major publisher already has access to creative tools in their platform-based workflows that deliver interactive panoramas, audio and video, social sharing, animated features, annotated graphics, and much more. The best solutions are those achieved through creativity, rather than expenditures. Advanced apps don't require costly and time-consuming programmers; they can be achieved mostly through resources already in-house.
Steve Sachs at Time Inc. cites "a great reading experience" as the top priority. Consider that the tablet is inherently flawed as a reading device. It beeps and burps every time you receive an e-mail or appointment. The screen is too shiny to read outdoors, and the batteries will die in the middle of a paragraph.
The passive delivery of words on a screen is only part of the tablet experience. The opportunity to interact with content, and interact with its creators, makes that reading experience much more engaging. Magazines evolve from one-way monologues to two-way dialogues. And consumers of all ages develop deeper relationships with magazine brands, providing publishers with opportunities to extend those brands based on those relationships and subsidize the enhanced apps that make all of this possible.