Zinio And Marie Claire Are Makin’ Moves When It Comes To Magazine Apps

Marie Claire has released an iPad app with the help of Zinio and Hot Studio. The three have worked together to create a more interactive means of reading magazine content online, in essence transforming Marie Claire into a “video magazine.” We spoke with representatives from Hearst, Zinio and Hot Studio to get a clear picture of how this collaboration came to be and what it means for the future of magazines. Innovative features for the app’s free (yes) download offers a curated look at sample features from several recent issues of the magazine. Readers then have the option of buying a single issue for $3.50, or a year’s subscription.

Marie Claire‘s branded app includes twenty minutes of video content, fashion pieces, moving (literally and, sure, figuratively) editorial, the option to shop products within the app itself (check out the screen grab at top, for instance) with deep links to shops and advertisers,  interactive 360 degree products images, and interactive quizzes that, when completed, reveal relevant information and content tailored for the reader. Plus, the app features a “living” cover showing actress Emma Watson in motion rather than as a static image. Which, come on. Is just pretty freaking cool.

Rajan Dev introduced us to Hot Studio, a core design partner for Zinio that created the digital reader allowing Marie Claire to be read and experienced in a live video format. Zinio and Hearst already have an established relationship, with Zinio bringing titles like Marie Clarie to its digital newsstand. But as Zinio’s Jeanniey Mullen told us, the recent popularity and innovations linked with the iPad have pushed digital magazines to provide “more sizzle, more substance.”

The goal of this collaboration among the three companies, then, is to bring the magazine to readers across digital touch points, not just the iPad, by providing different “slices of experience” based on the technology and context of each different device. So, reading Marie Claire on an iPad would be an experience unique from that of reading it in smaller bits and on the go via a smartphone. Thanks to Zinio’s UNITY platform, the branded Marie Claire app can be experienced on the iPad, iPhone, or on one’s own desktop, with Marie Claire‘s own app now also available for download in the iTunes store. And that is one of the core goals of the collaboration between Zinio and the magazine — giving publishers control of an app’s content while still leveraging the reach of Zinio’s UNITY platform.

Working closely with Zinio was Hearst’s Chris Wilkes, who has long been an advocate for pushing digital to new limits when it comes to experiencing magazines. He told us that, given the relative “newness” of apps, surveys are included in each issue in order to gauge reader feedback, and the December issue, released in app form last week, is in response to qualitative research done with readers who have had an opportunity to sit down with the app.