BlackBook to Style Issues After App

We’ve seen magazines that sprang from Web sites and TV shows, so it seems it was only a matter of time until the mobile Web became the inspiration for print.

Now, BlackBook Media is taking up the reverse-publishing challenge, styling future issues of its eponymous lifestyle magazine around its GPS technology-powered city guide app.

The company launched a denim-finder app that lets users find editors’ picks based on the user’s location, while retailers can offer coupons to users. The current issue of BlackBook was fashioned as a vehicle to support the app, with a denim theme throughout.

BlackBook’s first stab at this approach was last fall with its Diddy’s BlackBook app, which pointed users to Sean Combs’ favorite hangouts. To promote the app, the October issue featured Sean Combs on the cover.

“We’ve used the magazine to support the app rather than the other way around,” BlackBook Media CEO Ari Horowitz said, adding that he sees much bigger growth potential in selling ads on the apps to merchants than in selling print pages in a magazine.

The change is part of the company’s recent effort to transform itself into a digital business. BlackBook launched its location-based app five years ago and has been customizing it for other media. It currently has a dozen clients including Bravo, The CW and Elle magazine.

As a result, digital revenue now represents half of total revenue, and Horowitz expects that share to reach 90 percent a year from now.

“If you’re only going to bank on print today,” he said, “It’s a really tough road.”