Movies & Music: New magazine apps show the benefits of native tablet editions, even as replica editions continue to be released

Category review: New classical music magazine VAN is an impressive digital magazine which uses the Aquafadas digital publishing platform

It has been a long, tough 4+ years of incessantly beating the same drum: tablet editions of film and music magazines need to feature film and music content, otherwise why bother? It got to the point where when TeamRock released a new app for its recently acquired magazine Classic Rock (it bought it from Future plc) I was so accustomed to these digital editions lacking audio content that I initially missed the built-in audio player (a big thanks to David Hicks for pointing out my mistake).

Have we finally turned a corner? It is starting to look that way if the latest release of Newsstand apps is any indication.

Van-iPadTeamRock, when it acquired Classic Rock from Future, also picked up Metal Hammer and so has also released a new Newsstand app in support. It, too, looks like a “classic Adobe DPS” digital edition (that I how I described its app for Classic Rock). As my post on The Mozart Project might tell you, I’m not a big metal fan so I did not bother to buy the magazine issues inside the app.

TNM rarely gets promo codes or log-in accounts in order to look at new apps, something that will hopefully change now that Apple is incorporating Test Flight into its offering, presenting developers a chance to let the media test new apps themselves before release. Bring it on, guys!

But the new Metal Hammer Newsstand app looks identical to its app for Classic Rock, and that would be a very good thing, indeed.

On the opposite side of the music spectrum is the new quarterly digital magazine app VAN – Magazin für klassische Musikkultur, which as the name suggests, is a classical music magazine. Its editor and publisher is Hartmut Welscher, and the magazine is published from Berlin.

I am anxious to know whether Apple’s introduction of third party extensions will allow a publisher to build in translation capabilities because this is the kind of magazine I would love to be able to read. But alas I know no German and must look at the new digital magazine strictly as a publisher – and I certainly like what I see.

The app is available both inside the Apple Newsstand and in Google Play, and the app was built using the Aquafadas platform. This is actually one of the first apps I’ve run across that uses the digital publishing solution and it is quite impressive. The first issue is costs 4,99€ Eur ($4.99) inside the app’s library, with annual subscriptions priced at 17,99€ ($19.99) for four issues.

Filmstudio-iPadBut the app offers a fairly nice sample of the issue, which for many publishers might be enough to get good impression of the new digital magazine.

The arrival of these new native tablet magazine apps does not mean replica editions are not still being released into the various digital newsstands. FilmStudio Dijital Dergi is a Turkish magazine that presents a somewhat modified replica edition.

The page numbers have been scrubbed off the digital pages, but otherwise this digital edition is as seen in print. Like most replicas, the reader must rely on pinch-to-zoom in order to have a chance at reading the digital version of the magazine.

Midwest Leak Magazine and Cinema Express are also a replicas which uses Magzter to create its app, while Revista Alternativa uses PressPad.

I’m very often asked to look at these kinds of new digital editions, but there really is not much to say about them that would be new. For many readers (and for the publisher) this is all that is expected.

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