Esquire Debuts Weekly Tablet-Only Magazine
New pub attempts to attract higher-frequency web audience, and subscribers.
To keep up with the rapidly changing desires and habits of readers, Hearst’s Esquire is introducing a new weekly tablet edition, the company announced late last week.
Esquire Weekly will feature original content and will include a mix of columns, essays and excerpts, and will focus on broader trends like its monthly counterpart, but will also be more reactive to the news of the week. To get a sense of how this new hybrid lifestyle and news weekly will work, FOLIO: caught up with David Granger, the brand’s editor-in-chief, and Joe Keohane, senior editor of Esquire Digital.
FOLIO: Why make a weekly tablet edition?
David Granger: One, because we like the idea and we think our readers will like it too. It’s cool and new, something no one has really tried before, and Esquire has always had a soft spot for trying cool new things. Two, until we started the weekly, our tablet readers only had a reason to use the app once a month. We want to prompt them to spend more time with it. Three, digitally we have two distinct audiences: The monthly subscribers to our tablet version of the magazine, and Esquire.com readers (who come to the site mostly through social media and searches).
The weekly is a way for us to bridge that gap and give more to the digital subscribers, who are missing a lot of great stuff online. By giving them more great stuff—right now $20 gets you the monthly, the Weekly and the Big Black Book—we’ll hopefully retain more of them, and attract more new subscribers.
FOLIO: What kind of content will be in this weekly digital edition? Is it exclusive or will it be found on the Web and in the monthly as well?
Joe Keohane: Both. It’s a mix of columns by Esquire megafauna like Charlie Pierce, AJ Jacobs, Stephen Marche and Josh Ozersky, along with a mix of essays, features, excerpts, and short-form pieces by Esquire staffers and select freelancers. We conceived it as a sort of Esquire Express: Something smart, funny, insightful, moving, and beautifully presented—everything you expect from the monthly—but "snackable," in the parlance, designed to be consumed in a sitting or two.
There likely won’t be any overlap between the weekly and the monthly, though the weekly is perfectly positioned to run, say, follow-ups of big stories that run in the magazine. There will be exclusive material in the weekly that will stay in the weekly, but there will be some overlap between it and Esquire.com. For instance, A.J. Jacobs’ column will be exclusive to the weekly for six days, and then we’ll release it online. Other columns may run online at the same time they come out in the weekly, or maybe a bit before. Some will be totally exclusive. We’re taking it on a case-by-case basis to ensure what goes into the weekly is always sharp and timely.
FOLIO: Will the content be more focused on timely news than the monthly counterpart?
Joe Keohane: There are different kinds of timeliness. The monthly is all about anticipating what is going to be on people’s minds or creating stories of such originality that they create their own news. Esquire Weekly will be able to be a little more reactive. It will be very timely. The ideal is to create stories and designs that meet the editorial and design standard of the monthly, but do so at the velocity of the Web.
FOLIO: How did you determine the price?
David Granger: It’s free for digital subscribers, of course, but $0.99 just seemed right for it. We wanted to keep the price low to entice people to buy it, and then hopefully subscribe to the monthly.
FOLIO: How does this fit into Esquire‘s larger audience development, marketing and sales strategy?
David Granger: We’ve done a good job at driving people to download the app but most of the people who downloaded it in the early days didn’t do much with it once they saw that it was nothing more than a purchase opportunity. Now we have completely redesigned the shell and broadened our product offerings. We want to give readers more reasons to decide to buy Esquire once they download the app. Now, we have a variety of products at various price points, as well as the opportunity to let them know that there is something new happening in the Esquire app on a more regular basis.