National Geographic Launches Magazine on the iPhone
Full issue to be priced at $4.99 for single copy.
National Geographicâs brandâwhich already reaches over 400 million worldwideâis about to grow a little bigger with the introduction of its magazine on Appleâs iPhone.
National Geographic magazineâs iPhone edition will launch with the November 2012 issue. The app will provide daily updates, including video, photography, audio recordings, maps, graphic timelines, daily feeds of news, Instagram photographs from the brandâs photographers and photos from the National Geographic online community of fan photographers. Unique content will be offered each time a user opens the app.
âYouâd think that the size is the first hurdle,â says Bill Marr, National Geographic magazine creative director. âWhat we found was that the real challenge was organizing content. We had to re-think what we were doing on the iPad for this smaller format. We wanted it to be much easier to navigate and organize things simplyâthe table of contents is basically the guidepost to the whole app.â
No matter where a reader is in the app they can click on National Geographicâs yellow box icon and be brought directly back to the table of contents, which makes for easy navigation. Initially Marr said he and his team, who worked with New Jersey-based Joe Zeff Design to create the application, were considering organizing content by media typeâsiloing photos, video and articles in to separate categories. Ultimately, the creators thought it best to organize the app by departmentsâfeatures, reader feedback, newsfeed, editorâs letter, etc.
âWe went back and forth for several weeks on this,â says Marr. âBy organizing by media, we werenât really allowing the story to become apparent to what people were getting into. If you click directly into a photo gallery and you donât know what the story was about, then the photographs have less meaning.â
This lesson learned, adds Marr, is something the team will apply in its other digital spaces from now onâif the brand redesigns its website, it will work to keep its content together and âsee each of the elements as a narrative tool to tell the story,â he says.
The application will also be updated with not just monthly magazine content but news items on a regular basis. The application functions in both landscape and portrait modeâswiping horizontally to go from article to article, and vertically, when directed, for more pages.
âThereâs so many people that have mobile devices in their pockets or their purses,â says Marr. âWe need to follow the market and follow where our potential is.â
Though National Geographic is still testing pricing, right now the single-copy price for the magazine on the iPhone is $4.99, with an annual subscription coming in at $19.99. Existing subscribers on other platforms will also have access on their iPhonesâand possibly other mobile phones in the future.
âWeâll of course need to expand into the Android marketplace,â says Declan Moore, president of publishing and digital media for National Geographic. âWe have so many readers outside of the United States and that platform, particularly on the phone, has greater market share. Thatâs loud and clearâweâre hearing the necessity to prioritize an Android solution on our roadmap going forward.â
When it comes to mobile advertising, Moore says this is also an area like pricing that is still being worked out internally for a variety of reasons, namely the wait-and-see attitudes of the marketplace.
âIn the late 90s and early 00s we had our nice print CPMs migrate to digital at a much slower level,â he says. âNow weâre seeing digital CPMs go to mobile CPMs at a much slower level. Weâve been through this kind of transition beforeâI really think going forward weâre going to be developing more partnerships with clients that go beyond media impressions. Thatâs a function of just how marketing is evolving and how consumers are interacting and behaving with content on these devices.â
Moore adds that given the âsmall real estateâ available on mobile devices publishers need to be carefulâwhen consumers are paying for a product like a magazine on their mobile device having many ads can become intrusive.
âGetting that right is an opportunity and a challenge for everyone in this industry,â he adds.
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