Wednesday, 7 March 2007

Media On Trial - Hello! (Digital Edition)

Hello have launched a digital version of their UK magazine. Media Week asked me to write a review of this product:

Magazine: Hello! magazine digital edition

Publisher: Hello!

by Nick Burcher Media Week 06-Mar-07

Early attempts to publish interactive magazine content on a digitalplatform (Enter Magazine in 2001, Sunday Times The Month in 2003) wereunsuccessful, primarily because their products were based around a CD-Rom.

Web 2.0 technology has created opportunities for publishers to revisit the digital magazine idea and the perceived success of Monkey hasprompted a number to look again.

Newspapers have launched downloadable editions, NatMags is working onProject Celia and Hello! now offers a digital version of its UK magazine to complement its print and website offering.

The digital magazine is an exact replica of the print version and is consumed via an application called Zinio reader (which has to bedown-loaded and installed first). There is an easy-to-use search mechanism, an archive system and clickable content. Turning pages is easy and lifelike, and it is simple to zoom in and out. Advertising is directly replicated, but as the digital edition offers clickable web addresses on ads, advertising with Hello! could become more responsive.

Subscribers of the digital edition can either pay per annum or purchase that week's edition. While free content may increase numbers, payment schemes have not been a barrier to digital consumption of other titles that use the Zinio reader. However, the majority of these are monthly magazines or one-offs, so it will be interesting to see how a weekly magazine fares.

We welcome innovations like this and think it can extend the reach of traditional magazine brands. Some of the glossy appeal of Hello! is lost through consumption by computer, but reading it still feels more like reading a mag than a website can ever offer.
This, coupled with the fact that it is immediate and always accessible,will appeal to many, especially to those in places where the print version is not available.

Hello! digital edition is an interesting initiative and another example of a traditional brand diversifying to create a multi-platform offering.

- Review by Nick Burcher, board director (buying), Zed Media"

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