Niche publisher launches groundbreaking website magazine, revealing future of digital magazines
NORTHBROOK, IL (August 13, 2014) – Prime Publishing, publisher of 17 free craft websites and 13 free cooking sites, has just released what Prime and multiplatform publishing consultants Mequoda Group believe is the magazine industry’s first-ever true website magazine, along with an associated app edition for mobile reading.
Unlike traditional magazine websites, which offer content in a hyperlinked, topic-based experience, I Like Crochet on the web is an actual issue delivering a linear magazine experience complete with a table of contents and page-by-page navigation.
Naturally, it’s also enhanced via technology so readers can click to go directly to specific projects. And even more importantly, all content is also available in an actual library, so subscribers can search back issues for, say, afghan patterns, all with a few clicks.
The library is what sets I Like Crochet apart from existing flipbook magazines on the Web. What’s more, says Mequoda CEO Don Nicholas, flipbooks have never been a very satisfactory reader experience, with user engagement of only a few minutes compared with as much as an hour or more for print magazines.
“This is out on the edge of discovery information architecture,” says Nicholas of the unique navigation and library organization. He thinks Mequoda and Prime have literally reinvented the magazine on the Web. “We believe we’re making history here … we can’t be sure, because few turning points are ever recognized at the time, but I hope I Like Crochet will be a historical turning point in the magazine publishing industry.”
One big step forward, with a backward step
The addition of an actual magazine to Prime Publishing’s stable of free websites is also somewhat unusual: Prime President Stuart Hochwert, who had been a client of Nicholas’ in the 1990s, founded his company as a group of advertising-supported, free websites in 2009 without any legacy print magazines behind them.
The model has proved popular, and Prime currently has some 5.7 million active subscribers to its various websites.
However, says Hochwert, “Until now, we had no premium product to offer our readers who wanted a higher level of access to unique and exclusive patterns and advice. With the launch of I Like Crochet, we now have a paid subscription magazine to meet that need.”
And it was a serendipitous moment when Hochwert approached Mequoda, which had helped him build all his sites, to launch a magazine. Nicholas had been pondering new data that had him believing, contrary to all conventional wisdom until now, that readers might actually want to spend an hour or so reading a true magazine on the Web.
That conventional wisdom held that computers were used by readers as “lean forward” experiences in which they searched for answers to a question, found the answers in a few moments at a website, and left. It also held that the same readers used their smartphones only for “snack” reading.
Data showing that smartphone users were actually spending quality time reading long-form magazine content changed Nicholas’ thinking. “It blew all our assumptions out of the water,” he says. So when Hochwert arrived with plans for a new magazine, the “grand experiment,” as Nicholas calls it, was born.
“I’m excited beyond imagination about this,” Nicholas says, “and I’ll be forever grateful to Stuart for being willing to enter this grand experiment with us. We couldn’t ask for a better partner – one who has been highly successful with an incredibly high quality of content, who is an out-of-the box thinker and willing to take risks.”
The app edition of this “grand experiment” costs $19.97, the website edition is $29.97, and a combo of both editions is priced at $34.97. This pricing policy, known as decoy pricing or contrast pricing, is a Mequoda Best Practice, and is designed to drive more buyers to the highest price point for both editions, because of the contrast with the only slightly lower price for just one edition.
Developers enjoyed a free hand
I Like Crochet is another digital magazine created by Mequoda’s project team, led by CTO and Lead Architect Aimee Graeber. Graeber notes that this project was unusual because it was unconstrained by any expectations from a legacy print magazine.
“Usually, when we’re talking about a magazine app we have to reconcile future goals and technology with current design, editorial, and staffing. In this case, we worked with Stuart and the team at Prime to create an entirely new magazine from the ground up, taking advantage of all our current best practices.”
Graeber also credits Mequoda partner Mag+ with providing the technology for creating the new magazine app. “Mag+ offers great functionality at a price that works for most small and mid-sized publishers,” she notes.
Unlike other crochet magazines, I Like Crochet features high-end designs and patterns for beginner to intermediate crocheters. The patterns, which are solicited by the editors from the most popular crochet designers, always appear first in I Like Crochet.
In addition, the magazine delivers professional photography of each project, plus instructional videos and product recommendations. Every bimonthly issue will include 25 to 30 exclusive crochet designs, including wearable crochet, home accents and baby items.
I Like Crochet is now available online and at the Apple Newsstand.
For questions about I Like Crochet, please contact President Stuart Hochwert, 847.205.9375.
For questions about Mequoda Group, please contact Chief Content Officer Ed Coburn, 781.697.8387.
ABOUT MEQUODA GROUP
Mequoda Group is a consulting firm specializing in multiplatform strategy for publishers. It offers proven services and software to help publishers develop and successfully implement plans to become integrated, multiplatform publishers with growing profitability and dramatically increased exit value.