Summary:

Magazine publisher Future is exploiting iPad by offering a tablet production service to rivals and by identifying a new weekly publishing schedule for its monthly print titles and rolling news sites.

UK magazine publisher Future is shaking up established mag models by powering tablet titles for outside publishers and launching tablet-only titles of its own on unusual new schedules:

  • Future announced existing cooking title Jamie magazine as the first external client for  FutureFolio – an interactive tablet-edition production suite the company designed in-house to build its own magazines but which it is now also pitching as a service to peers and rivals.
  • The publisher will soon launch a  spin-off of its tech news website TechRadar as a weekly iPad magazine, sitting between the existing TechRadar rolling website and Future’s monthly T3 gadget magazine.

Traditionally, hobbyist publishers like Future have stuck to a monthly print magazine schedule. Jamie is a monthly. But Future also started several weekly titles for tablets lately:

  • Last week, it launched Gathered, a weekly tablet-only spin-off of its monthly crafts magazine Mollie Makes that itself only launched in print this May.
  • Future recently launched Photography Week, a weekly spin-off of its monthly PhotoPlus magazine.
  • And it also launched CyclingNews HD, a weekly iPad spin-off from its CyclingNews website and and Cycling Plus magazine.

Those weekly tablet launches come as Dennis Publishing’s Australian edition of The Week collapses and Newsweek exits print.

Future has sold two million tablet magazines through iTunes Newsstand since it pushed over 60 page-turner replicas and a few interactive editions to the service upon launch a year ago. But its most successful titles are those interactive editions

The new moves show two things:

  1. Future wants to extend its contract and licensed publishing businesses, through which it has long produced official magazines for game console makers, for example – to customers in the tablet ecosystem.
  2. The publisher is starting to think beyond merely sticking to the same monthly print schedule it has known for years in print. Time will tell whether new-launch iPad magazines can succeed with a weekly schedule, somewhere in between print’s monthly schedule and the live web.

The Jamie tablet magazine enhances its print original with features common to many other dedicated cooking apps – follow-along instructions, searchable recipes and emailable shopping lists from ingredients lists.

Chef Jamie Oliver is celebrated not just for becoming a successful big media brand but for extending that brand into digital channels without leaning on big media producers. To that end, video, which Oliver also publishes on YouTube, will appear inside this magazine.

FutureFolio will compete with iPad magazine back-end vendors like Mag+, which is not owned by an existing publisher. But Future may find a tougher time offering its FutureFolio service to publishing clients larger than Jamie, which is operated by Oliver himself.

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