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An Upscale Woman's Title That Is Anything but Static

Media Morph: VivMag

By Published on .

NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- Every week Ad Age Digital's Media Morph looks at how emerging technology is changing the way consumers get their information and media companies and advertisers present their messages. This week: VivMag.
With VivMag, an online title created using Zinio software, subscribers can interact with content from editorial and advertising.
With VivMag, an online title created using Zinio software, subscribers can interact with content from editorial and advertising.

What it is: An upscale women's magazine that doesn't, and will never, come in the mail. The all-electronic and interactive VivMag was created using Zinio software. Issues are downloaded automatically to subscribers' computers, and both editorial and ad pages are interactive. For example, readers can click a button within a page to see an animation of a yoga move or a cooking technique rather than just reading about it. The magazine calls this action "vivifying" the page.

Who's behind it: The founders have a history of entrepreneurial success -- Chairman David Gilmour and CEO Doug Carlson co-founded Fiji Water. Editor in Chief Anne Russell is a former editorial director at Fox Health Network and, prior to that, editor of Shape; Publisher Barbara Moses is former ad director of Shape.

Why: While many media execs view print as unsustainable, it's not often for the same reason as Mr. Gilmour. He was inspired by the paper-waste-cutting potential of electronic mags. "I discovered just magazines appear to be releasing 13 billion pounds of greenhouse gas, close to 5 billion pounds of waste paper to the landfills and cutting some 35 million trees a year," he said. "Change is due."

What they learned: While many publishers of women's magazines have begun to use Zinio to electronically distribute replicas of the magazine, no one has actually taken advantage of the interactive features it allows, Ms. Russell said. The process is different from print -- fonts must be simpler and clearer, colors brighter and stories shorter.

The ad angle: Advertisers can embed links to their own sites in the pages of the magazine, creating click-to-buy opportunities. VivMag is also counting on entertainment advertisers to see the value in the magazine -- they could, for example, embed movie trailers in it.
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