Last week, two Condé Nast magazines, Vogue and Wired UK, unveiled iPad editions of their December issues, and Nicholas Coleridge, the managing director of the magazine group’s British arm, was in characteristically bullish mood.
Noting that the recession had confirmed the pattern of downturns seeing a “flight to quality” that favours his upmarket glossies, he enthused about the twin launches: “We’re entering the iPad apps market with two very different approaches – the two apps deliver very different experiences.
The Wired app, using Adobe (NSDQ: ADBE), is a magazine brand that offers long-form journalism, often features of 6,000 words, coupled with infographics and diagrams.
The Vogue app uses a specially created platform, conceived to allow fashion photography and shoots to come to life, to allow the fashion magazine to offer a multi- sensory experience. The quality of pictures on the iPad is amazing, which is best shown by the Mario Testino footage on the Vogue app.”
For Coleridge, the initiative reflects Condé Nast’s “real digital breakthrough in the last eight months and a step change in usage. We have become more adept at selling what we have digitally. Integration has been happening slowly between between print and digital.”
Reviewing progress at his titles’ websites, he is pleased that “the speed with which vogue.com is now delivering content is living up to consumer demand, as the changing media arena means users expect instant reporting. It’s important, though, to balance that with quality and accuracy, and it now takes just 40 minutes for expert opinion on the catwalk shows to go live on the site.”
Wired UK, launched last year, has “understandably seen fast growth”, and glamour.com “sees a peak in usage” at lunchtime; but gq.com “was a difficult brand to get right online – it’s easy to go down the [pictures of under-dressed] ‘girls route’, but that’s simply not appropriate for GQ”. Since a redesign “with an emphasis on fashion and style authority” in February, however, “we’ve seen page views grow by 33%”.
For Coleridge, lads’ mags’ dramatic recent sales losses are “an example of where magazines can and have been affected detrimentally by digital”; but at Condé Nast, “increase in web use has not seen a corresponding dip in print circulation”, he says.
This article originally appeared in MediaGuardian.