New York magazine launches brand new Newsstand app that combines live daily web content with a natively designed tab edition; developed with The Wonderfactory using the Mag+ platform’s newest SDK
The publishers of New York magazine have launched a brand new, natively designed tablet edition into the Apple Newsstand today. The app, developed with The Wonderfactory, and using the Mag+ digital publishing platform, with replace the existing stand-alone iPad app which only offered readers a replica edition of the print magazine.
The new app, New York Magazine, offers readers news from the magazine’s website, updated daily, as well as the weekly magazines, now redesigned for the tablet reading experience.
“We were called nine or ten months ago to do initially a prototype,” said David Link, co-founder and creative director of The Wonderfactory. “They came to us because of all our past app experience and said they wanted to to the next iteration of what a magazine app should be.”
“The most defining feature of the app is the up-and-down slide or ‘window shade’ that allows users to toggle seamlessly between the app’s web content and the articles from the weekly magazine,” said Adam Moss, editor-in-chief, New York magazine in the publication’s launch announcement. “The app is an important new channel for us to expand our footprint and deepen our relationship with our audience, while offering the same sensibility and unique voice that has influenced our city, country and culture for the past four decades.”
This is the first app developed by The Wonderfactory to use the Mag+ platform, which Link said gave them more flexibility.
“We wanted to keep the top part of it, which is the daily news, fresh so that every morning you’d have at least 15 stories that are curated by the New York mag editorial staff of the best of across all of their blogs and website,” Link told me this morning. “That would be updated at least once or twice a day so there is something fresh to look at.”
“The thing we did was once you download it once you don’t have to be online to see these daily stories, which is really nice. So if you open it on the way to work, on the train you can read all those daily stories.”
“This is actually the first app released publicly using the SDK,” Mike Haney, chief product officer at Mag+ said, “so we’re very excited about that.”
“I think where this fit in nicely with The Wonderfactory and New York magazine had come up with it gave New York mag a platform so they didn’t have to worry about recreating the tool set to create the issues or the back end to distribute them, but it gave The Wonderfactory the flexibility to put in some of the custom features they wanted in the end user app,” Haney, who is the Chief Product Officer, said this morning.
“That is really what the SDK is designed for is to say take advantage of those back end things we’ve already built but remake the front end app to whatever you think is right for your brand, or whatever experience you want. So that seamless combination of web based content and the magazine that The Wonderfactory had come up with was possible because the SDK allowed them take care of that magazine reading part so they could focus on the UI and the web reading part.”
While the live web section may be what at first sets this new Newsstand app apart from the old replica edition app, it will be the digital magazine editions that will ultimately be what subscribers see as so greatly improved. The first issue in the just released app weighs in at only 88 MB, quite modest for a native tablet edition. Part of the reason for this is that the digital magazine is designed for portrait-only reading, and that fact that New York magazine is so text heavy magazine.
“I think our mission was to try and keep it low so the download was faster. As you know a lot of the New York magazine stories are longer form than a lot of weeklies are as far as the page count and there is a lot of text versus a lot of images,” Link said.
For Mag+’s Haney, the new app is just what magazine publishers should be doing – building native tablet editions and apps that take advantage of a publication’s strengths.
“It’s a great use of the platform and a great use of the SDK,” Haney said. “What I really like about this is that it’s a good example of brands doing what we talk a lot about – wishing more brands would do – which is to not assume that they should do something because everybody else has done it but … take a look at their brand, their assets, their strengths, and then deliver something that really capitalizes on that.”
“When you look at the strength of New York mag has on the web, both in terms of audience and from a business perspective and content perspective this is what makes perfect sense for their brand. From the very first meetings when we saw the concept The Wondefactory wanted to do we really wanted to work with them and help them power this because it is a great example of what a magazine brand should be doing in this space.”