Executive Briefings: The Next Generation of Digital Magazines
Think back to your first cell phone. If it was clunky, boxy, unlikely to fit in your pocket and even less likely to provide a clear and drop-free phone call, you weren’t alone in your frustrations. Cell phones have come a long way since appearing on “Saved by the Bell” (thanks to Zack Morris) and in vehicles as “car phones.” Today, it’s laughable to think how far the technology has evolved in just 15 years. Think now about how the next generation of magazine publishers and readers likely will view the print-replica digital editions that slowly have gained popularity over the last few years. If shrunken sizes and improved call quality are what fostered the widespread adoption of cell phones, then interactivity and experimentation could be the magic potion for digital magazines.
Enter Popular Science, the venerable, 137-year-old science and technology title, whose willingness to “test the future of digital publishing—digital magazines,” as Publisher Gregg Hano describes the effort, should be applauded by those publishers currently seated on the sidelines.
Launched in March, the PopSci Genius Guide is a fully interactive, quarterly digital magazine employing Zinio’s digital technology and loaded with original content and multimedia features that readers won’t find in print or at PopSci.com. While most digital editions are merely electronic copies of their printed versions, the Genius Guide is an editorial and technological product designed for on-screen use and with reader engagement and interaction as its primary purpose. Embedded videos, sound, animation and rich media files throughout the entire magazine make the articles and advertisements spring to life and pull the reader into a whole new world.
And make no mistake—this isn’t your typical “interactive” digital magazine with an animation here or a video there. Rather, the Genius Guide is loaded with so much interactive content that it’s easy to navigate the magazine and miss some of it.