New York Magazine Offers Sneak Peek at Innovative New App
New York magazine today offered an advance look at its new iPad app, one of several innovations in the app space presented at the MPA Swipe 2.0 conference in New York.
The New York magazine app, which launches Sunday night at 10 p.m., was the result of several years of research and carefully-chosen media partnerships, Michael Silberman, general manager of digital media at New York, told conference attendees.
New York initially held back from jumping into the app space, tentatively offering a replica app while development prices went down and Apple sorted out the best way to serve publishers with subscriptions. The publisher asked replica app users what they wanted to see more of (answers included interactivity, fast downloads, daily updates and social sharing) and looked closely at user habits, finding, for instance, that while NYMag.Com website use peaks in the middle of the day, tablet usage spikes in the morning and evening. "This pattern told us that content updates in the morning and especially at the end of the work day were important," Silberman said.
Silberman said matching app content to the voice and style of the magazine was a priority. Being a single-title publisher, New York could "create something unique to the brand," he said, offering a "still-elegant reading experience that could allow people to move seamlessly between the weekly magazine and Web stories."
Forbes, another publisher that waited before jumping fully into interactive apps, focused on mobile website and print redesign while observing other publishers' initial app efforts, said Nina La France, senior vice president, consumer marketing and business development at Forbes Media.
Early magazine apps were "beautiful, expensive pieces of art put in place because the device could support them," she said. "We did not think that would work for us. We knew we wanted our enhancements to be functional and useful."
The mantra at Forbes, she said, is "simple tools and social," with the goal of seamlessly merging magazine storytelling, social sharing and Web experiences. The Forbes app, launched in January and built on the Maz Digital platform, featured 1,600 links to additional content by the time of this year's annual "billionaires" issue. Enhancements of note include a "clippings" feature whereby users can easily clip and share content on Facebook and Pinterest.
The New York app, developed by Wonderfactory on the Mag+ platform, features both weekly magazine and daily Web content on the start-up page, and the easy back-and-forth is extended throughout the experience as part of a freemium model driving users from free daily to paid weekly features.
Interactive features include 360-degree panning for photos accompanying restaurant reviews, chef videos with recipe articles and an interactive version of the magazine's famous approval matrix.
As Forbes columnist Jeff Bercovici put it in a mid-show recap, both the New York and Forbes apps "attempt to address the failings and flaws of the first generation of iPad apps," such as inertness and the inability to move between platforms.