Opinion

We need to talk about Encore

encore appSo today I’ve cleared my diary. As has my colleague Brooke.

You see, there’s something we want to talk to you about.

Here’s our numbers:   

Tim Burrowes: 02 8296 0201

Brooke Hemphill: 02 8296 0237

We’re both going to be at our desks, all day.

We want to talk to you about Encore magazine.

Today sees the launch of our iPad app.

I must admit, I’ve had mixed feeling about the iPad in the two years since it launched. There was the initial feeling of excitement. Followed by a slight cynicism as newspapers seized upon it, a little desperately it seemed to me, as their saviour.

But in recent weeks my thinking changed again.

As you may remember, we relaunched Encore magazine late last year – at the same time we moved its focus much more closely to Mumbrella’s audience. After three years away from print, I found myself falling back in love with magazines. When it comes to telling a longer story they still beat websites.

But at the same time, the things that you quickly take for granted are annoyingly absent in mags. Talking about TV shows, films or ads and not being able to watch them – what’s that all about?

encore appWhich brings us to the Encore app for the iPad. Which you’ll find in the App Store from today.

The process of creating it – and Brooke, as Encore’s managing editor has been far more involved in it than me – has been an utter thrill. There’s a feeling of excitement and potential as you find ways of combining what makes magazines great with the immediacy of digital. More so than I expected before getting involved.

Rather than take the approach of some titles, we’ve tried to create something more than a glorified PDF of the print edition. And I feel like we’re only just beginning to discover what we’ll be able to do as we try new things.

At the same time, I’m not naively optimistic. If you download the first edition – which I hope you will – you’ll see that there aren’t a huge number of advertisers yet. Certainly not enough for the business model to be certain.

I don’t really know if this is going to be a move that funds itself mainly through subscribers, through advertiser growth, or a little of both.

But as we go, I’ll share what we learn. Even if the number of subscribers is embarrassingly small, I’ll share it – I’ll try and do so at least once a month.

What I do know is that the last few weeks, as we prepared that first Encore iPad edition, have been fascinating, and exciting. The last few days, waiting for it to go live on the App Store, have been a little like waiting for Christmas.

And what you will find is a lot of content of which we’re very proud. Frankly I could kiss Derryn Hinch for putting himself on the front pages this week. Suddenly our profile interview, conducted a few weeks ago, is perfect timing to launch today.

You’ll also find all of our columnists – including our debut column from Packed To The Rafters creator Bevan Lee. We profile Australia’s most significant seven film reviewers, talk to Mix’s Tim Ross, learn how to bluff it as a talent agent and ask why students aren’t coming out of university ready to work in our industry. Plus of course we review ads. And play them.

Which is where you come in. Now it’s your turn to give it a go.

I want to know what you think. And I want to make it easy for you to do so.

So for starters I want your $4.49. (Or if you fancy making a real leap of faith, $19.99 for the next six editions.)

In the scheme of things when we’re asking you for $1799 to attend Mumbrella360, $4.49 is not a lot. Particularly as I bet you can stick it on expenses or claim it back against tax. But in truth, I don’t fully understand the iPad economy. I don’t know whether we’ll sell a handful of editions or a few hundred.

And the reason you may need our number is I want to know whether you feel you get value for money for that $4.49. Positive or negative, we want your feedback.

And to put my money where my mouth is, if you hate it, call us today and we’ll refund that $4.49.

If you can’t get through or it keeps ringing, bear with us – those numbers don’t connect to a call centre. They’re our direct lines. And we want to chat.

And if you can’t get through, you can always email us and tell us what you think.

tim@focalattractions.com.au

brooke@focalattractions.com.au

Speak to you later…

Tim Burrowes

Editor-in-chief – Mumbrella and Encore magazine

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