March 11, 2015 Last Updated 11:30 am

Madison Magazine launches new digital edition into the Apple Newsstand

City/regional magazine for Wisconsin’s capitol, published by Morgan Murphy Media, will also be available soon through the Google Play newsstand, as well

The city/regional magazine category is a tricky one when it comes to digital editions. Most publishers, possibly feeling that native digital editions are only appropriate for national consumer magazines, usually choose to only produce a replica edition, despite the growing presence of new digital-only competitors.

Madison-cover-400One of the newest city/regionals to hit the Apple Newsstand is Madison Magazine and my expectations were not very high. The reason, beyond the track record of many digital editions from regionals, is that this Newsstand app currently has an odd sized icon (rather than the latest issue) and only one screenshot in the app description (of the February issue).

But the reason for these small glitches in the app, launched a week and a half ago, probably are because the app launched when the new issues were not ready to go live. Instead, the app’s library currently only has the Best of Madison issue currently available.

Rather than a replica, what the new app delivers is a very nice hybrid edition: the advertising as seen in print, including two-pages spreads awkwardly spread over two separate screens, and reformatted editorial pages. This is pretty much the standard way major magazine publishers are building their digital editions for the Apple Newsstand and so it is nice to see a regional magazine do the same.

Madison is published by Morgan Murphy Media, though things get a little confusing with the name. The “seller” is listed as Evening Telegram Company and links go back to a site named channel3000.com – but it is all the same company. The Wikipedia listing for the company has a fairly clear explanation:

Morgan Murphy Media is a television and radio chain based out of Madison, Wisconsin. It is named for publisher Morgan Murphy, who expanded the business after he took over from his grandfather, who founded the Superior Evening Telegram. The company was originally known as Morgan Murphy Stations until 2007, when the company name was slightly changed to Morgan Murphy Media.

Madison-subs-pageOne of the things the new app does that is rare is sell a sponsorship right in the app – in this case, to Zimbrick European, a local car dealership. The app opens to a splash page that shows the Zimbrick sponsorship, and there is a page in the free issue for digital subscriptions that also lists the Zimbrick sponsorship. Since app library pages are seen so often when a reader opens an app, I am surprised sales staffs haven’t taken advantage of this to sell ad space.

The digital edition itself, which must be read in portrait, contains plenty of interactive features including galleries, scrolling text boxes and the like. But the Best of Madison issue manages to come in at a rather modest 234 MB in size. The app is for the iPad only, which is for the best, though it does leave a hole in the magazine’s digital strategy as it currently has no mobile app.

The new app uses the Adobe Digital Publishing Suite to create its Newsstand app, and art director Tim Burton the Google Play app is in the works, but no date is set yet for its launch.

“Emily Culp is our production manager and she is charge of production on the digital issue,” Burton told TNM in an email.

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