Magazines have been rushing to create mobile apps to stay relevant in the digital age and replace dwindling print ad revenue.
Now, Woman’s Day—while it may not be seen as the most cutting-edge magazine—is adopting one of the publishing industry’s newest tricks, creating a “vook,” or digital book that blends text and videos.
The Woman’s Day Cookvook: Healthy Food for Everyday Living is based on the newly released hardcover book Woman’s Day Cookbook for Healthy Living. Along with recipes, it contains 45 updatable video cooking demos from editors and readers. A social-network feature lets users share recipe comments via Facebook.
Woman’s Day parent Hachette Filipacchi Media worked with Vook to develop the “cookvook.” It sells for $9.99 and be accessible online or on Apple iPhones or iPod Touches. Woman’s Day has a revenue share with Vook and Apple, which it wouldn’t specify.
The product is ad-free for now, but Woman’s Day senior vp, chief brand officer Carlos Lamadrid is talking to food, pharma and other advertisers about product placement and preroll ad opportunities.
The vook is Woman’s Day’s second iPhone app. Last year, it launched Cooking Assistant, which includes searchable recipe and shopping list features. Lamadrid said the vook is different because it’s entertaining as well as instructive.
“It’s more of a sit-back-and-enjoy experience,” he said, adding that some of the user-generated cooking demos are deliberately more amusing than instructive. “There was one woman who was making eggplant and she burned it and [we] left it in on purpose,” Lamadrid said. “There’s entertainment value, but there’s also a lesson in that.”
With all new applications, a question that arises is whether there’s a consumer need. Lamadrid said while Woman’s Day didn’t test the vook itself with consumers, it received favorable feedback to the idea from its Facebook fans. Woman’s Day also got good response when it tested online videos similar to the ones that appear in the vook, he said.
As for how the vook will compete with the plethora of recipe material available for free online, Lamadrid believes its value lies in its hand-picked content.
“I think it’s a curated concept that you will return to,” he said. “A cookbook really lends itself [to the format] because it’s something you use over and over again.”