People’s perception of digital media has changed because of mobile devices. Smartphones and tablets are always at hand with information and entertainment we are interested in.
According to Statista, mobile accounts for 72% of the time spent consuming digital media, with mobile apps representing more than half of that time. We expect that this number increases by 2 percent each year.
In the case where readers spend more time-consuming media on mobile devices and less time buying physical newspapers, magazine publishers have to adapt their distribution strategies and develop digital magazines to remain competitive.
If you’re thinking of creating a digital magazine. You may have questions about where to start, what software is required, how to distribute it, etc. We are going to guide you through all those points you might not have thought of.
Give a second life to your business
Nowadays fewer and fewer people read print publications. So if you don’t want to see a sad future that you should look for the opportunities. Digital changes brought the new opportunities so you may take advantage not just survive but get ahead.
The shifting from print to digital is not freely given, but many publishers are taking this step because of the many advantages and opportunities that digital transformation brings. Going online dissolves the boundaries that limited you in traditional publishing. Online publishing allows you to reach wider audiences that may not have even heard of your magazine.
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Having a limitless audience of your publishing company allows you to examine other markets. Eventually, you can translate your publication into other languages to reach alternative markets. You can also establish new publications or create a new section of your publication to focus on other topics to get people with other interests. Digital transformation can also help you reduce the cost and increase your magazine’s revenue.
While digital makes up a small percentage of total circulation, it is only 25% of the total flow of consumer magazines worldwide, proving that consumer adoption is growing.
Not all magazines are created the same way. There are 3 types of online magazines that can be created to support their digital distribution strategy and increase incomes.
3 types of digital magazines to raise profits
- Online magazine or Mobile App Publishing
Creating a mobile-optimized online magazine, also referred to as an HTML web reader helps to reach an audience. This option is often used by small publishers, online magazines can be read directly on a website or sold to readers through a subscription service.
It doesn’t matter whether desktop or mobile device your audience prefer, readers can flip through your publication, going from one page to the next as it is in a print version.
Magazine apps (also it can be called digital editions) are branded mobile apps that the audience can download (from the App Store or Google Play) by purchasing single issues or subscribing to digital magazines. You can provide your readers a content through magazine apps as blog feeds, video galleries, social media feeds, or other custom content to create an engaging user experience, in addition to selling digital magazines.
If we are talking about digital magazines themselves, issues can be established as Digital Replicas or Reflows.
- Digital replica
Digital replicas are created by converting a .PDF into a flippable reader that fits the screen of users’ devices. It “replicates” the printed magazine – the layout, advertising, and content are the same as the print version – allowing users to swipe or zoom to read page content.
There are also be add multimedia elements like audio, video, image files, and links to create an interactive digital replica.
The readers appreciate digital replicas as a “greener” option to print. There is a possibility to upsell or bundle digital replica editions in subscription pricing. In case of publisher needs to get an online magazine to market, the quickest way to do it is to create a digital replica.
- Reflow digital magazine
Reflow digital magazines provide the same benefits are replicas, but in this case, content is re-designed to fit the mobile device, without altering the font size. When text flows from one page to the next, around images or other multimedia content it creates a positive user experience. Readers swipe from side to side to browse article to article, and up & down to read articles in full.
While reflow digital magazines require some additional resources, the user experience can make it a much more appealing solution than digital replicas – both to readers and advertisers. Also, it’s important to note that Reflows aren’t just for print publication. Digital-only publishers can pull content from other digital publishing sources via RSS into a packaged issue that they can sell. This makes Reflows the best solution for increasing mobile circulation revenues of paperless publications.
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Essential features of an app for digital magazines
After researching digital magazine features we may say that they are much the same as the basic principles of creating a paper magazine, but there are considerable differences.
One of the biggest differences is the option to use multimedia elements such as video and audio, which is followed by the option to use such features as links between articles or to external content.
However, you may add any features you deem appropriate. Here are several necessary features of an app for digital magazines that may be useful:
- Responsive design. A digital magazine has to look great and perform well on any device, as well as it has to fit your needs in the proper way. Supporting different formats has to be on the top of any list of essential features of an app for digital magazines.
While the PDF format is still a must for many publishers, newer formats such as HTML5 are paving the way for more interactive user experience.
PDF files are used as a base for Replicas, that is made by converting a .PDF into a flippable reader that reproduces the layout, advertising, and content of the printed magazine.
We recommend publishers to use the HTML5 for adapting a PDF to any device screen and adding multimedia elements like audio, video, image files, and links.
- Searches. The feature of going directly to a particular article and/or find any specific term where digital publications score hugely over their paper counterparts – or they can do. Make sure your app software allows you to make the most of this advantage.
It is a great option to be able to save the result of the search and users highly appreciate it.
- Adding to any video content. In contrast to the paper magazines, which can only tell their audience where to find a video online, digital counterparts can indeed add them in the publication.
If you have ever spent time on YouTube then you know, there can be opportunities for monetizing via either adverts in front of the videos or product placements within the videos.
- Navigation options. The huge advantage of digital publishing is the opportunity for anyone, even for private individuals working on their own, to create and publish a digital magazine by their interests and target audience.
But it can be frustrating for users, who have to work out how to navigate each and every individual magazine they buy. Provide the app that has powerful tools to support user-friendly navigation, give your readers a guideline of how to make their way through your magazine clear.
- Audio support. This can really give digital publications an advantage over their paper counterparts. For example, paper magazines can only publish transcripts of interviews, digital magazines can actually embed the audio so that the readers can also hear the real interview. You can enhance the reader’s experience by giving them as much control as possible over the audio playback.
- Additional information. Digital magazines which satisfy readers with different levels of knowledge on any given topic. In the paper world, publishers must strike a constant balance of the needs of beginners, who enjoy detailed explanations of issues with which experts are already familiar and expert readers who may find it boring.
In the digital world, there is an opportunity to publish the body of the article for readers who have a high level of knowledge but use text boxes to add extra information for those who need it without creating visual clutter.
- Get into the archives. You shouldn’t underestimate an archiving. According to your business model, you may provide the access to all or part of your archive to stimulate people to subscribe to the latest issues or you can sell access to it to get an extra income.
Whatever you do, it should bring you extra revenue out of existing content. Your audience will appreciate being able to link directly to previous issues.
Choosing a tech stack for building an online magazine
While picking up the technology for your app development consider that choice will depend on the type of digital solution and features you want to implement. For example, audio/video streaming and file sharing apps will need programming languages and frameworks that can handle high load.
While deciding on the components of the tech stack, also analyze your web or/and mobile app based on the criteria like project size, time to market, scalability, security to narrow down the options. Keep in mind that technologies can be used in different combinations, and frameworks are only to be chosen after the programming language has been agreed upon.
A Technology Stack that we use
Android Support Design
The languages used for web development are just one aspect of a tech stack. Databases, server apps, and working algorithms also need to be chosen carefully.
And the most interesting question is how much does it cost to create an online magazine? The cost may vary according to the complexity of an app basic price starts from $25 000. Do not expect a professional app development agency to tell you the exact price of your product out of the blue. There is no such thing as a price list that can help you calculate the cost of developing an app.
Staying a print-only publication has many limitations and as time goes by, your magazine will be less and less in tune with your readers’ habits and the industry. We’re not saying the industry is changing. It has already happened. And that is why publishing your magazine online is important.
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