February 18, 2014 Last Updated 1:10 pm

Hearst releases hybrid digital edition for its new magazine launch, Dr. Oz The Good Life

There can be little question that Hearst knows how to launch a celebrity driven magazine. Last fall it began its efforts to launch a new title centered around television star Dr. Oz, looking to an early year premiere.

DrOz-iPad-tocDr. Oz The Good Life did, indeed, premiere this month, as did the Apple Newsstand and Google Play apps (there is also a Kindle edition).

Hearst apps generally are hybrid editions: digital editions where the print ads are the same as print, but the editorial is reformatted. Because of this, the issues are easy to read on a tablet, if fairly unimaginative.

The new consumer magazine looks like it will be presented as a replica edition in the various digital newsstands as the app descriptions do not play up interactivity. Because of this, it was a pleasant surprise to see the digital edition for the iPad a pretty good Newsstand app. There is a bit of video sprinkled here and there, but the digital edition is fairly conservative in its approach.

Some readers have complained that some of the content does not play, but I did not experience this.

DrOz-iPhone5-lgThe app has been out for two weeks, but no written reviews have appeared in iTunes, and only one in Google Play. There are more in Amazon’s store, which may reflect the target audience – older, less interested in technology (or maybe it doesn’t). Generally, though, reader reviews are good. The most perspective reader comment was regarding the recipes that are included in the issue: they work better in print simply because the digital editions have no landscape orientation.

The only complaint I would have about the app is that it is universal – that is, works on both the iPhone and iPad. Many publishers that used to just produce a tablet edition and started to product iPhone editions, as well. But most of these digital editions are really designed for larger screens and do not work much better on an iPhone than a straight replica would. They are simply too hard to read.

Hearst’s pricing policies for digital, where they force print subscribers to pay again for access to the digital edition, works a little better with a new launch. Readers can pick print or digital right from the beginning. Of course, that will also mean that they won’t have as many double buyers. This is something few in the industry want to talk about, that some of those new digital paid subscriptions are really just print buyers accessing digital. This is one reason the latest paid circulation numbers show that some digital editions are no longer growing at near the pace they did just a year ago.

Comments are closed.