Content creators can download the tools for free at the magplus.com website, then create prototypes and review content on an iPad. The core feature is a plug-in that enables users to incorporate tablet design into print work flows, adding layered content, links, video and audio without leaving InDesign.
“For b-to-b publications that often run on leaner staffs than consumer publications, this is a way to deliver something custom-created for these tablets without putting too much stress on the staff,” said Mike Haney, U.S. director of Mag+. “This is a solution that goes from InDesign to the tablet, so creatives can dive in and just start building.”
If publishers like what they see, they can purchase the tools for $2,500, a price that allows them to publish unlimited content for five months. That price also introduces them to the full functionality of the system. Subsequent publications cost either $500 for a month of unlimited content or $500 per issue released.
“You get all of the advantages of print,” Haney said. “You get nice, full-page display ads and a full screen to show off your images—the immersive experience, but with the interactivity, the analytics, the ability to track that you have on the Web because it is a digital product.”
Built-in features include analytics from Flurry, Localytics or Omniture, components that can help publishers learn how readers are interacting with their content.
IDG Sweden is banking on those early lessons to provide future value, said Pontus Jeppsson, business unit director-mobile for IDG Sweden. IDG used Mag+ to introduce the iPad version of its MacWorld SE title in December, and single-issue sales have been uneven, he said. A subscription-based sales model is in the works.
But while the company ultimately sees its mobile channel as a place to acquaint readers with the concept of paid digital media, the focus now is not on revenue. “It's about being there and learning how it can work editorially,” Jeppson said.
A growing number of publishers stand poised to develop tablet products. “We will have something this year,” said Paul Miller, CEO of UBM Electronics and UBM Canon. The company is researching its options.
“It's got to be more than the magazine looking flashy,” Miller said. “I'm interested in what's going to be a useful application for our audience.”
Mag+ joins platform providers such as Adobe, Texterity and Woodwing in the tablet market. The company currently is working on a new work flow-integrated tool that would create content for Motorola's Xoom, the new Android tablet. “We're looking at getting more robust in terms of social sharing and social integration, as well as the saving and management of content,” Haney said.