July 21, 2014 Last Updated 1:13 pm

ESRI launches impressive tablet editions for ArcNews and ArcUser into the Apple Newsstand

Redlands, California GIS company launches attractive, new iPad editions using the Adobe Digital Publishing Suite to create their apps

Almost two decades ago, I moved from the Bay Area to Chicago to publish a B2B magazine tied to the construction industry. In addition to leaving perfectly wonderful weather for the brutal winters of the Midwest, I also failed to do much research into the company I was joining. It turns out that its employees were not very happy with ownership and two months into my gig most of the sales team bolted to join the competition – it turns out they had been plotting the move ever since it was announced that the company would be bringing in an outsider (me) and not considering any of them for the publisher’s position.

That left me with the challenge of hiring as good a sales team as I could recruit – quickly, before the old team could do much damage. When thinking about what would happen, now that the old team which knew everything there was to know about our magazine, would be selling against us, I realized that that the only way to succeed would be to rethink the basic premise of the magazine.

ArcNews-iPadAs a road construction magazine, the sales team had been trying to compete against the big B2B magazines published by McGraw-Hill (my old company), Cahners and Randall Publishing, attempting to convince the big equipment manufacturers to add our title to their ad schedules. My approach was to reexamine what our readers did for a living, what they bought, what services they needed, and to match those traits to the companies that might advertise. The new approach I created was to look beyond just equipment advertising to services such as insurance, software, technology, consulting, etc. Now our database of possible advertisers would be double or triple in size.

One of the fringe areas we suddenly thought about was software and other technical services such as mapping and design. One of the companies that made it into our database, and onto our complimentary issue list, was ESRI, the Redlands, California company.

ESRI probably never advertised in our magazine, but we got to know them very well, and began to attend trade shows where they exhibited. ESRI is a leader in GIS – geographic information systems, computer systems designed to capture, manipulate, analyze, and manage geographical data. If you are designing a road, our thinking was, someone would be using ESRI services in the process of mapping and designing that road.

ESRI did advertise, but they did so in the “geo” magazines, a small group of titles that were much more technology oriented that we were – though we became far more technology focused as the years went on.

But ESRI has not been solely dependent on B2B publishers to inform, educate and market to its customers, they have also produced their own print magazines. ArcNews and ArcUser are quarterly magazines for the Esri user community which not only promote ESRI but also have their own combined media kit that allows other companies to advertise, as well.

ArcUser-iPadThis last week ESRI launched the first tablet editions of those magazines into the Apple Newsstand: ArcNews Magazine and ArcUser for iPad.

Thomas K. Miller edits ArcNews, while Monica Pratt edits ArcNews. James Hitchcock is credited as being the creative director for both magazines. (ArcGIS is how ESRI’s has branded their geographic information system.)

The new digital editions were built using the Adobe Digital Publishing Suite. Both tablet apps were designed in portrait-only, and both feature native layouts – simple in design, but easy to read and navigate. In addition to the occasional house ad for ESRI, there are also a few ads from third parties such as the GPS equipment maker Trimble. In this regard, you could consider these digital editions hybrids (where the ads replicate the print magazines, and the4 editorial content is reformatted for the tablet).

While the layouts for the digital editions may be simple, they are very effective and feature a few interactive features such as video and scrolling photo galleries (as seen above).

At least one of the B2B magazines produced for the industry has been shuttered in the past year, and the prospects are not good for others. Of those that remain, none have launched tablet editions into the App Store, making ESRI a far more progressive B2B publisher than those who consider themselves publishers exclusively.

Note: ESRI’s publishing team was pretty farsighted when they created their 2014 media kit for ArcNews and ArcUser, including their new tablet editions in the media kit, including ad rates for the apps (see the PDF of the media kit here).

Update: Monica Pratt reached out to let us know that Tom Miller, listed as editor of ArcNews in the Spring 2014 issue included in the Newsstand app, has since retired and she will now be editing both ArcNews and ArcUser magazines.

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