Black Enterprise isn’t the first business publication to produce an iPad app, but it is the first to get it right. The BE app for the iPad doesn’t offer live stats or business quotes that are easily accessible from the web or via text message to users already inundated with data. Instead, it enhances the magazine experience, using the capabilities of the platform to add more depth to the content while also making that content easier to consume than if it were ported over to a simple web page.
The iPad can surf the web, so the BE app doesn’t recreate and charge for content a user could get on the web within the confines of the app. It zeroes in on the BE user, giving them more ways to make the content work for them and unique opportunities to create community around the content, which outweighs what could be done on a web page.
There are many features that make the Black Enterprise app stand out from the competition, but we’ve highlighted five of the most notable ones here.
1. Reader Accounts – BE has introduced an amazing function in the Reader Accounts, one you’ll likely see become a standard among not just business magazines but any publication looking to reap the benefits of the tablet platform. The idea takes its cue from print where circulation numbers are often augmented by a “pass-along” factor–readers circulating one purchased copy amongst other readers who haven’t bought the issue. This is exactly the type of unquantifiable metric that advertisers are finding hard to accept when the Internet offers laser-sharp measurements down to the unique user. But by limiting all in-app interactions to users who have created a reader account (enabling sharing, bookmarking, notes, etc. for each user), BE has not only given users reasons to create accounts, they have also given themselves and their advertisers an unprecedented view of the publication’s true audience.
The best example of this is to imagine an iPad sitting on a household coffee table. Like a magazine, any household member or guest is able to pick it up and read a few articles. But whereas a magazine becomes worn and tattered after many reads, the iPad version is fresh for every reader. There are no bookmarked pages to suggest what to read and no missing pages indicating what someone thought was a must-read that you’ll never get the chance to. The Reader Account changes this by making every account logon a brand new experience.