Viewing entries tagged
digital magazines

Seven Deadly Sins of Digital Edition Publishing

Seven Deadly Sins of Digital Edition Publishing

This casual review of how digital magazine and newspaper editions are created and distributed, along with studies which purport reader’s preferences of the medium, has lead to this comprehensive list of ‘Deadly Sins’. The items mentioned represent significant factors that prevent a digital edition from initial or continued success in the marketplace.

Article Narration

Article Narration

A narrated article allows the reader to multi-task while remaining engaged with the article content. Wash dishes. Walk the dog. Listen on the train. In a society devoid of available time narration allows readers to catch-up to their favourite magazine or newspaper while on the go.

Large, Glossy, Full Page Ads

Large, Glossy, Full Page Ads

The pinnacle of magazine advertising. A full-page glossy announces a brand as a pioneer or leader in it’s industry. According to the Sports Illustrated media kit, a full colour ad which reaches their rate base of $2.7M is a mere $435,000 USD.

Taking a Stand on Digital Newsstands (part 2)

Taking a Stand on Digital Newsstands (part 2)

In the first part of the series ‘Taking a Stand on Digital Newsstands’ I suggested that there are implementation and promotional issues related to digital newsstand efforts. The drawbacks that were discussed included: discoverability, attracting readers, business models, and fragmentation.

In the second part of the series I am going to look at a few more oversights that purge the air out of the digital newsstand balloon.


Q&A with CIO Today UK

Q&A with CIO Today UK

CIO Today UK publisher Michael Azzopardi contacted Flip Page a couple of years ago looking for a solution to publish a digital magazine. He definitely had a concept in mind and needed a specific solution that would meet his requirements. In his words;

"Out of all of the products I tested, Flip Page was, without a doubt, the best value, most customisable and fully-functional tool I could find."

Having just celebrated their first birthday as a digital only magazine we asked Michael to provide some details regarding CIO Today UK and the success he and his team have enjoyed.

1. Who is Genisys Group?

Genisys Group are the magazine’s publishers. They partner with organisations around the world to help them realise the benefits of implementing and supporting technology, so making them the perfect investors in CIO Today UK Magazine.

2. What is CIO Today UK?

CIO Today UK is a C-level, B2B, UK-based, online magazine that focuses on issues important to senior corporate IT decision makers. 

3. What was the impetus for a digital magazine launch?

We felt it was a great time to be able to reach out to senior IT decision-makers with a strong message and provide a non-biased opinion on solutions, strategies, issues and best-practices. Whilst there are a small number of CIO Today UK ‘competitors’ in the market today, we wanted to provide a fresh-faced alternative to what was available at the time. A reader emailed us after the publication of the first issue and summed it up perfectly for us: “It’s hard to believe the November issue of CIO Today UK is also the first. The publication combines authority with stunning fresh design to arrive on the scene with a bang!

4. Why launch digitally instead of print?

I was initially torn between going online-only, and a mixture of both digital and traditional print. I’m quite old-school when it comes to publications and still enjoy leafing through a new issue of a print magazine. This being said, as a tablet user, I fully understand and appreciate the flexibility of a digital magazine and am now starting to replace my print subscriptions with digital subscriptions. The cost comparisons, combined with the speed and efficiency of issuing a new magazine made perfect sense so I decided to go with digital-only; a decision I have never regretted.

5. Aside from the Flip Page version of CIO Today UK how else do you connect with your digital audience? Email? Social Media? Website?

The magazine enjoys a rapidly growing LinkedIn group and Twitter page as well as a popular website, which includes a daily RSS News Feed. We publish monthly articles on the website that are replicated within the magazine, creating synergy between the two mediums.

6. What marketing or promotional strategies have you employed in order to gain subscribers to your free magazine? Was one strategy more effective than others?

Due to the targeted readership of the magazine, some strategies have worked considerably better than others. We have found that utilising social media has been extremely useful in generating interest. To ‘test the water’, two months prior to the magazine launch, we created the LinkedIn group and used it predominantly as a news feed as well as a ‘recruiting tool’. I updated the group every morning (weekends included) with daily news and interest articles and saw the group’s member’s numbers increase daily. We used the group, as well as Twitter to pre-register people to receive a magazine subscription approximately a month before first publication date and used this as the initial database of subscribers. We also had splash page on the magazine’s website for people to ‘pre-register’ prior to initial publication.

7. Are there any 'digital only' tools that are being applied to CIO Today UK's digital magazine in order to engage readers?

We are utilising Flip Page's propriety BRC/Callback facility for advertisements that are placed within the magazine. To have an easy-to-use tool that translates directly to advertiser’s ROI is incredibly useful and a great selling point when it comes to pitching media sales within the magazine. The magazine will be 12 months old in October this year, and has gone through an organic ‘learning-curve’ through its comparatively young lifespan. Small changes have been made to the look and feel of the magazine, without deviating too much from the original business model and future plans do include a greater utilisation of available digital engagement tools such as embedded video.

8. What is the future of CIO Today UK?

We will be expanding the publication’s reach by creating CIO Today US and CIO Today IN for both a North American and Indian readership. Our publishers, Genisys Group has a presence in three continents, Europe, North America and Asia, so we are hoping to be able to assist in brand recognition throughout all of these.

Want to find CIO Today UK on the web? Click here. Want to view their anniversary issue? Click here.*

* CIO Today UK offers limited pages for complimentary viewing. To view the entire publication a registration form must be completed.

Flip Page Publishing expands HTML5 viewer to Desktop

Flip Page Publishing expands HTML5 viewer to Desktop


Flip Page Publishing announced today that they have expanded the output capabilities of their HTML5 publication viewer. Originally slated to be the mobile viewer of choice for Flip Page readers the HTML5 build has now been expanded to desktop viewing as well.


“Sometimes it is just a matter of meeting demands” replied Sean McKenna - Flip Page Publishing’s Sales Manager.

Flip Page Publishing had released its new HTML5 mobile viewer just weeks earlier but was already receiving requests to make this a desktop option as well.

“The mobile viewer has been really well received” stated Flip Page Publishing President Brent Palmer.

Previously, the HTML or Flash based editions would ‘switch on the fly’ to the new HTML5 mobile viewer when a mobile user attempted to access a Flip Page edition. However, content publishers are now provided the ability to put the HTML5 version into non-mobile reader’s hands as well.

When asked how the new HTML5 desktop version is received on desktop browsers Flip Page Publishing’s Sean McKenna remarked “It is really slick. The toolbar overlay in the HTML5 version, which removes the visual toolbar, offers an expanded layout compared to the standard Flash and HTML based versions. It just means that paginated content occupies more of the display’s landscape which is what you want”.

Flip Page Publishing maintains that current versions of all of the major internet browsers (Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Apple’s Safari, and Internet Explorer) support HTML5.  “An upgraded programming language for browsers is long overdue” stated IT Consultant Mark Reynolds. “As the HTML5 language continues to expand, the browser support for this language will follow suit” he concluded.

Flip Page has stated that the HTML5 desktop viewer renders exactly the same as the HTML5 mobile version and includes the same toolset as the mobile product. 

How does a publisher take advantage of the new HTML5 desktop version? Flip Page Publishing has made it very simple. There is a new option in the Issue Settings ‘Viewer Version’ dropdown called ‘HTML 5 Viewer’. Select this option during issue setup to offer your Flip Page editions in HTML5 to both mobile and desktop readers.

Flip Page digital edition Advertising - What do you have to offer?

              About a month ago one of our top account executives in the advertising sales department was asked “What else can you offer me?” Our account exec. paused for a moment and made his client aware that his print advertisement in ‘The Flip Page Times’ was also prominently displayed in a banner ad on the Flip Page Times website.

“Yeah, I know” replied the client. “What about the digital edition?” The ad sales rep. recoiled. “Your print ad is also accessible in the digital edition of the ’Times” responded the confused salesperson. “Yeah, I know” replied the client. “But isn’t there something else we can do with my ad in the digital edition? I want my ad within the digital edition to stand out” confessed the client.

Upon overhearing this conversation one of the junior reps from the ad sales department walked over and asked if he could provide some insight. “Sure” was the dual response. The junior rep was new to the print side of things but was very familiar with the digital offerings available at ‘The Times’. “Let me show you some of the basic interaction we have available and then I will show you some incredible multimedia options” stated the junior ad rep. He pulled up the current issue of ‘The Times’ from the desk beside him. “Well, a simple start would be to provide your website address in text format” he proclaimed. “That would allow us to link your website from the digital edition” replied the rep. “And, we could provide you with analytics data that demonstrates how often ‘The Times’ readers are accessing your website from our newspapers digital edition”. The client’s eyes lit up.

May June Newsletter
May June Newsletter

“That is just the beginning” continued the sales rep “Let me show you some of the other features that we can offer”. The eager sales rep. reached into his portfolio and pulled out a sheet littered with opportunities for the client. The numerically organized list of possibilities read as so:

1. Introduction Pages – An Introduction Page (to the left of front cover) is a great placement location for an advertiser in a Flip Page edition. Since the Introduction Page can be as large dimensionally as the publication it acts as a full page ad on the landing page of the actual publication. The highest percentage of trackable page views will occur on the front cover page which denotes a prime real estate location within each issue. Introduction pages can include all of the tools (multi-media, call back cards, animation) as a standard page.

2. Margin Advertisements – Margin advertisements offer individualized ad placement locations within the browser display of a publication. The ad banners occur outside the perimeter of the publication viewer. There are multiple placement locations and ads can be set as ‘static’ or ‘rotating’. All of the banner ads are linkable to any web hosted page, promotion, offer, sale etc. Margin ads are ideal for a current print advertiser or can be leveraged to a ‘digital only’ advertiser who values the market being served.

3. Advertiser Index – The Advertiser Index is a dropdown list of advertisers integrated as an icon into the tool bar of the Flip Page edition. The Advertiser Index categorizes Advertisers by name and offers an internal link to the ad page within the Flip Page edition when clicked. The Advertiser Index provides immediate and continued exposure of the advertiser to the intended audience.

4. Custom Animated Ads – Flip Page editions offer a static replication of ads within the printed medium. However, ads can be customized to render as more than a static image on a ‘browser page’. Page animation offers the ability to add interactive components to static pages to further engage readers with a brand or product.

5. Multimedia – Flip Page editions provide the ability to build both Audio and Video into a publication page. Media formats can be embedded and offer various render options for the advertisers. As an example, an advertiser could opt to have a product video pop-up on select pages and play automatically as the reader navigates to the page. Similarly, a radio spot can be selected to play when a reader navigates to an ad page for that brand. Television ads, product spotlight videos, radio spots, audio overdubs, etc. should be used to compliment print content within the digital edition. Multi-media will further engage readers and drive product recognition.

6. Call Back and Business Reply Cards – A Call Back Card is a lead generation tool that provides direct interaction between a Flip Page edition reader and an advertiser. A Call Back Card populates as a customizable icon or graphic within an ad. When clicked, the icon renders a form which details when a reader would like to be contacted about an advertiser’s product or service. When the form is submitted an email is generated and sent to the advertiser begin the customer acquisition process. The email also states the origin (the publication name) of the call back card for the benefit of advertiser and publisher.

7. Specialty Pages – Specialty pages such as blow-ins, gatefolds, barn doors, and belly bands create unique opportunities to highlight a specific advertiser within a Flip Page digital edition. The interactive and unique nature of specialty pages provides a more immersive experience for readers compared to standard page sizes. Similarly, specialty pages offer creative design options that cannot be replicated with standard pages.

8. Page rotation – Specialty pages allow the advertiser to get creative with the dimensions of their ad in comparison to the standard page size. Page rotation furthers that creativity. An ad that rotates the entire layout of the publication tends to garner attention.

9. Direct or Hard Linking – Typically a Flip Page edition opens to the front cover of the publication. Using the Direct or Hard Link option allows you to determine the page which opens when the link is clicked. This is an excellent opportunity to highlight an advertiser or an issue sponsor within a publication.

10. Analytics – Advertisers are most concerned with how a publication is received by a reader. How many readers read the publication? How many readers return to the publication a second time? Where are these readers located geographically? How long are readers engaged? Did the reader view the page where my ad is placed? Did they interact with my ad? Did the reader watch my video? Did they click on my promotional link? These questions, and many more, can all be answered by viewing the analytics data that is captured with each issue.

As the ad sales team and their client finished navigating through the various options being showcased, the client reached into his pocket and pulled out his cell. He was instantly in contact with his creative director. “Steve” he stammered. “Put an immediate hold on any art that you are doing for The Flip Page Times” he continued. Both of the ad sales team members for ‘The Times’ looked at each other in defeat. They were both under the impression that their client had been very impressed with their impromptu presentation. “No, no, no, Steve” the client blurted out. “We aren’t stopping our ad in The Times, we are figuring out how we can maximize our ad in the digital edition!”

Digital Archives - The New King of Content


When I was young my peer group and I were avid collectors of sports trading cards. At the time, well before athletes could be followed on Twitter or read about on the web,  athletes were humanized  via trading cards. For that reason, twenty five years have passed and that collection of cards still reside within their appropriate shoe boxes in the ‘spare’ room of our home. During each spring cleanout I am questioned, by my unassuming wife, why I continue to house them. My obvious response is that they hold ‘value’. Some of it emotionally vested value and some of it actual monetary value (ie. the pictured Mario Lemieux rookie card). In my wife’s eyes those cards hold no ‘value’ unless I convert them into cash (my usual reply is that her wedding dress occupies quite a bit of space in the same room as those cards). Stalemate.

What if this same concept is applied to magazines?  A print magazine requires an enormous amount of energy, resources and expense in order to design, write, edit, promote, and distribute. A magazine offsets these expenses by offering subscriptions, newsstand sales as well as revenues generated through advertising and sponsorships.   Once a magazine has run its course from newsstand or home delivery to bathroom magazine rack where does it go? In some cases it may be sitting in an adult sized shoebox in the ‘spare’ room of a home. In most cases it has likely has become fodder for an elementary school collage.  The inner ‘hoarder’ in us is often outranked by the outer perception of tidiness. So how does a loyal reader, without hoarder tendencies, access the timeless content of their favorite magazine? Digital archives!Digital archives are a virtual shoebox of content. They don’t occupy any physical space but still offer the graphical and textual appeal of the print version.  A reader can browse through every issue that has ever been released on their PC or laptop browser or they can be downloaded for an offline read via a custom branded native App on mobile. Each archived issue can be indexed within the browser’s digital edition as well as within the App for easy navigation. For research purposes, or practical use, content or articles within the archives can be searched by current issue or by ‘all issues’ available. Of course, there are some other interesting possibilities with back issues. For example, an author could provide current commentary on an article that was written in years past.  As another example, an image depicting a location could be retaken from the current perspective to show change over time. I could likely come up with a hundred suggestions but the picture is hopefully clear – there are incredible opportunities available. There are definitely some avid collectors who already have every print issue of their favorite magazine tucked away in a closet in their home. We can assume that is the minority. But...

Would a faithful print reader be persuaded to ante up some extra dollars for access to digital back issues of a magazine?

Could unlimited access to archives be the impetus that pushes a fence sitter to subscribe rather than purchase single issues?

Does content that was created years ago not offer another low cost opportunity for a publisher to drive added revenue?

It has been said that ‘Content is King’. If so, it may be argued that digitally archived content is Emperor.