SF Chronicle Launches 49ers Digital Magazine
San Francisco newspaper offers exclusive digital content through app
The iPad-exclusive app will be published twice each week with a pregame edition released on Fridays and a postgame version coming the day after that week‚Äôs game. Content includes exclusive multimedia features, articles from the¬†Chronicle‚Äôs sports section, player profiles, opponent scouting reports, fantasy football and betting advice, as well as social media integration.
‚ÄúWhen you research an audience of highly engaged sports enthusiasts, or highly engaged people who watch any particular NFL team like the 49ers, often the feedback that you get is ‚ÄėI want more information than I‚Äôm currently getting and I‚Äôm willing to pay for it,‚Äô‚ÄĚ says Mark Adkins, president of the Chronicle. ‚ÄúThe audience says they can‚Äôt get enough.‚ÄĚ
More specifically, Adkins says, it‚Äôs about providing information that isn‚Äôt readily available elsewhere. There will be some overlap between content in the Chronicle and on the app, but with several new staff members brought on specifically for the digital magazine, the focus is putting out exclusive stories.
The nature of the NFL schedule‚ÄĒone game per team per week, usually on Sunday afternoons‚ÄĒlends itself to a unique publishing schedule as well. It allows Adkins‚Äô team to capitalize on the market when it‚Äôs most hungry for that extra content.
‚ÄúEverybody has limited information right after the game. You basically know score, statistics and a couple of key elements that may have happened,‚ÄĚ Adkins says. ‚ÄúBut player interviews, coach interviews, those types of things start to trickle in after the game and they‚Äôre not immediately available. So we see a spike in web traffic, obviously, after the game, but we also see it on Monday when a lot of the coverage starts to come in.‚ÄĚ
The Chronicle did consider making the app an in-game companion that could complement the fan experience in real-time, but Adkins says the undertaking would have called for additional resources in a time frame that just didn‚Äôt fit. It‚ÄĒalong with expansion into other Bay Area sports, topics and events‚ÄĒremains on their ‚Äúradar screen‚ÄĚ for future development however.
At¬†$9.99, the price works out to about 30 cents per issue for the full 16-game regular season. Issues will continue though, should the 49ers make the playoffs.
As a new product in a new market, Adkins admits his team is not entirely sure of the price elasticity yet, but emphasized that the project‚Äôs purpose at this stage is to build volume.
‚ÄúIf you have no brand identity, the best thing to do would be to create what we thought [would be] a low enough price point that would drive a significant level of subscribers,‚ÄĚ says Adkins, who also notes that they‚Äôve sold out ad space on the app. ‚ÄúWe decided that we wanted to try to build volume off of it.‚ÄĚ
For now, the app is only available on the iPad, but other platforms‚ÄĒfor a bigger audience‚ÄĒmay be supported by the end of the season.