Lonny is moving from the browser to the App Store.
The digital-only Livingly Media publication will still offer its inspirational home design content via desktop and mobile browsers, but will now also provide an iPad app in an effort to strengthen its digital presence and add subscription revenue.
Lonny is currently offered for free on its website, while older issues of the magazine can be bought in print for $30 to $45. The iPad app—with purchase options ranging from $1.99 for a 1-month subscription to $19.99 for a full-year signup—provides a more affordable alternative for people looking to take Lonny content with them.
“We acquired Lonny magazine [in July] and one of the first things we did was to take a real hard look at where we could grow the business,” says Tony Mamone, CEO of Livingly Media. “At the top of the list [of what readers wanted] was an authentic tablet app. Following up on that, we took a look at our traffic patterns and found 16 to 17 percent of our audience was visiting us via mobile device.”
As Mamone says however, the magazine was, and still is, accessible through mobile browsers, so providing incentives for consumers to pay for content may be a challenge. He does consider the app experience to be an upgrade over the browser version though.
Livingly has included an internal app browser, landscape and portrait viewing options, and high-resolution photography compatible with retina-display, to go along with the standard Newsstand features like automated background downloads and general touching and swiping. The move makes sense from a publishing side as well, Mamone says, given the subscription tools that come with a Newsstand app.
“But,” he admits, “you can still access a lot of the content on the web.”
The app has done well so far, according to Mamone, though he says it’s too early to draw conclusions.
As of Tuesday afternoon, Lonny was ranked sixth in the Home and Garden category of the Apple Newsstand. Mamone did not provide a specific number of downloads, but commented that the amount still represents a small percentage of the 200,000 unique views the magazine averages for each of its 10 issues.
More importantly perhaps, average time per session had nearly doubled on the app (24 minutes) relative to what it normally is on browsers (13 minutes) though.
Mamone says that Lonny is in talks with both Google and Amazon to bring content to the Android and Kindle platforms, but did not put a timetable on when that could be expected.