April 21, 2015 Last Updated 9:09 am

Time Inc.’s Southern Living launches seasonal recipes digital magazine into the Newsstand

The free digital magazine was built using the 29th Street Publishing digital publishing platform, but appears under the Time Inc. developer account name

Time Inc.’s Southern Living released a new recipe app through the digital publishing platform 29th Street Publishing. The app, Southern Living Seasonal Recipes, was released at the end of March with little fanfare from Time Inc.

SLSR-winterThe app is exclusive to the Apple Newsstand, and is free of charge to download and access the monthly issues – and because of its publishing platform choice, the app works well on both the iPhone and iPad, in portrait and landscape (landscape is very important for cooks as most device stands work in landscape).

The launch of the app is a very smart, conservative way to create new digital real estate. The app contains only a collection of recipes taken from past issues of the magazine, collected into what one supposes will be themes. There are currently two issues available in the app’s store page: Winter Warm-Ups and Easter Recipes. Because there is no new long-form content, the project can be exclusive to the production department rather than require new effort from the editorial department.

As of today, the only advertising in the app is a video ad for Game of War that attempts to load once the reader exits the cover, but then immediately slides away. But as the app is brand new, there really is no audience that the publisher can sell to advertisers, so it is possible that the approach here is to launch, and see if the app develops an audience.

Meanwhile, the effort to build the digital issues will be minimal: the team can either manually upload the content to the app, or URLs from the stories housed on the web can be fed into 29th Street Publishing’s system to build out the issues. Easy stuff, making one wonder why more publishers don’t launch apps like this.

SLSR-recipeThere can be variations of this kind of launch. For instance, one could launch the app with a single sponsor. But, as digital publishers know, the day an app launches the audience is zero, and had to build from there. So launching an app that is both free and without advertising is a way to see if something will work before making commitments to clients.

Most popular media properties are looking for ways to extend their brand into new areas. Southern Living is particularly adept at this.

“We’d really been looking at brand extensions that allow for deeper immersion into the lifestyle,” publisher Greg Schumann told AdWeek in 2013. “We always say that our reader doesn’t just read Southern Living—she lives it. As we began to focus on the travel facet of the brand, we realized that our readers are always looking for Southern Living vetted and endorsed experiences.”

(In March of this year, Greg Schumann was promoted to Group Publisher and Ron King appointed publisher of Southern Living.)

Launching a new Apple Newsstand digital magazine using the existing recipes from the Southern Living test kitchen is a smart way to test the waters to see if an audience can be built that will create new real estate for digital advertising. Smart move.

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