Cosmopolitan Showcase Edition shows promise for digital magazines

Mar 22, 2011
Shine

I gave up reading Cosmopolitan magazine in my early 20s, now picking up an issue only on the rarest visit to the salon or when trapped at an airport. I’ll leave the critique of Cosmo’s content to individual discernment, but I can say that I was mighty pleased with what the magazine offered in its […]

I gave up reading Cosmopolitan magazine in my early 20s, now picking up an issue only on the rarest visit to the salon or when trapped at an airport. I’ll leave the critique of Cosmo’s content to individual discernment, but I can say that I was mighty pleased with what the magazine offered in its new iPad app, Cosmopolitan Showcase Edition. Publishers thinking of entering the digital marketplace should be looking to Cosmo’s app for tips.

Chock-full of dynamic pages, Cosmopolitan Showcase Edition makes flipping through the digital issue completely interactive. Editors produced video packages specifically for the app (“Jersey Shore’s” Pauly D gives an interview), and when I arrived at the opening page of the Lea Michele cover story, I was treated to a quick animation of different photos before the page morphed into the headline. The boxes on Cosmo’s signature quizzes could be ticked — and then erased for privacy — and I loved being able to view the fashion selections in 360 degrees. Sidebar content was often hidden behind tap able buttons, and the app was jam-packed with hotspots that kept me involved in the content, even when it was less than deep. The feature “Decode His Bedroom Sounds” isn’t ideal for prudish ears — the app actually includes audio clips of said sounds (hilarious, but not safe for work) — but in Cosmo’s arena the content fits perfectly.

While completely catering to users — Cosmo’s “fun, fearless, female” readership will truly love this app — the pub has tread a fine line by also successfully catering to advertisers with the non-intrusive Cosmopolitan Boulevard. Users who visit all the advertisers within the section are entered to win a sweepstakes, and the interactive spots are designed to hold your attention. Users not interested in participating can easily swipe past.

There doesn’t appear to be a download discount for subscribers (this should be planned, if it’s not in motion already), which might be a drawback for users depending on how much of the Showcase Edition overlaps with the print version.

Cosmopolitan Showcase Edition is indeed a showcase for how print publishing can flourish in the digital market. Other publications, take note.

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Kathryn Swartz

Kathryn Swartz is a freelance writer/editor who doesn't know how people lived pre iPhone. She attended the Missouri School of Journalism.

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