Wednesday, April 30, 2014


Celebrating the Launch of Outdoor Lounge @ InterContinental Jakarta MidPlaza

InterContinental Jakarta MidPlaza has brought tropical sophistication to the inner city following the highly-anticipated launch of its JimBARan Outdoor Lounge. This laid-back venue is the ultimate place to end the day on a high note over social drinks and something to eat in the company of likeminded patrons.

With its soothing waterways, exotic flora and contemporary seating pods, the lounge is a relaxing open-air environment in the urban heart of Jakarta. Jazz-dance lounge music and chill out tunes play continuously to set the mood. This concept caters to local trendsetters, business clientele and the after-five crowd looking for a stylish spot in the Central Business District to unwind and escape the traffic.

Designed by renowned landscape architect St. Legere, JimBARan Outdoor Lounge is a venue with a difference that celebrates the beauty of nature in the middle of the city. Intimate seating arrangements are conducive to small groups looking to have some fun. The lounge is simply the hippest place to be at the moment.

JimBARan Outdoor Lounge serves an extensive tapas menu along with tasty light bites. Signature dishes include Seafood Ceviche, Roasted Chili & Garlic Shrimp and Duck & Asian 5 Spice Sausages. Other gourmet delicacies will also be introduced in due course using seasonal ingredients to excite more refined palates.

Drinks are prepared by a team of resident mixologists at a smart bar facility. There is a full selection of creative cocktails to choose from as well as boutique wines available by the glass and home-made teas infused with fresh fruit. The house specialty is a lively concoction known as Sunset in the City.

It is made from Belvedere vodka, white rum, dark rum, banana liqueur, Malibu, pineapple, orange, coconut cream, coconut syrup and a squeeze of lime.

JimBARan Outdoor Lounge is open daily from 5pm until late every day of the week. It is the perfect spot to meet with friends and work colleagues whilst waiting for the traffic to ease. The lounge also lends itself to private events and special celebrations including weddings and parties. The lounge is adjacent to the hotel’s main ballroom that also extends into a lush garden setting. Extra standing space is available with a spiral staircase that accesses the main pool and a terrace on the 2nd floor.

“We have set out to redefine Jakarta’s social scene with a laid-back venue that embraces the elements of nature. Our aim was to create an uplifting area for guests to recharge after being confined to an office or meeting room for most of the day. The lounge was designed to consciously move away from the effects of indoor air-conditioning and harsh lighting. This unique concept is unlike any other facility at a 5 star hotel in this city,” comments Mr. Hendrik Eising, General Manager of InterContinental Jakarta MidPlaza.

Monday, April 28, 2014


Digitalisasi memang tak terelakkan lagi. Generasi kiwari cenderung menaruh apa saja ke dalam perangkat mobile dalam bentuk digital – mulai dari catatan, gambar, musik, hingga video. 

Di ranah industri penerbitan, platform majalah digital mulai menjadi tren, dan para publisher yang sadar dengan perkembangan zaman, berlomba-lomba untuk menangkap peluang ini. Apalagi smartphone dan tablet sudah mulai menjadi populer dewasa ini.

Salah satu fenomena yang paling menonjol dari dinamika komunitas digital di dunia – dan di Indonesia tentu saja – saat ini adalah mulai tumbuhnya kecenderungan positif pada penggunaan tablet. Berdasarkan data yang dirangkum oleh Philip Elmer DeWitt selaku pengelola blog Apple 2.0 Fortune dari 34 analis, angka penjualan iPad untuk kuartal kedua tahun 2014 diperkirakan akan mencapai 19,3 juta unit.

Memang, angka penjualan tersebut turun 0,7% dibanding tahun lalu, apalagi dibanding periode 2012 – 2013 yang pertumbuhannya sempat mencapai 55%, tapi 19,3 juta masih tergolong besar. Penurunan kecil ini konon berkaitan dengan akan hadirnya dua varian iPad Air dan iPad Mini Retina Display versi terbaru. Pasar memang belum kondusif, wait and see, yang sebenarnya wajar saja untuk produk yang perkembangan teknologinya selalu dinamis.

Rumornya, Apple tengah menyiapkan sebuah versi iPad terbaru berlayar jumbo dengan layar 12,9 inci, yang diberi nama iPad Air Pro, tapi kemudian belum terdengar kabar lanjutannya. Tapi yang jelas, bentuk tablet di masa depan, akan terus berubah sesuai dengan tuntutan zaman. Ada yang meramalkan,  kelak ada tablet yang transparan, atau bahkan yang bisa digulung seperti kertas toilet.

Meski perjalanannya tidak selalu mulus, tablet adalah pilihan masa kini dan masa depan – dan tidak bakalan set back ke era cetak, misalnya. Tablet tidak hanya menggantikan semua yang ada di cetak, tapi aplikasinya memberikan pengalaman baru di era digital.

MALE, misalnya, tidak hanya memberikan artikel yang informatif, tapi juga konten khas multimedia – meliputi foto-foto yang artistik, video yang keren dan menghibur untuk beberapa rubrik andalan, video behind the scene yang ekskulif untuk cover dan Lights On. Halaman demi halaman juga, tidak tampil monoton, termasuk bisa dilihat dalam format landskap dan potret, sesuai selera. Ada pun daftar isinya sangat interaktif, yang jika di-tap bisa langsung masuk ke halaman yang dimaksud.

Majalah cetak adalah masa lalu, meski platform digital memang bukan jawaban tunggal atas kebutuhan saat ini. Bicara soal konsistensi jangka panjang, sebenarnya tidak ada faktor yang membatasi secara kaku antara majalah cetak dan majalah digital untuk mengembangkan bisnisnya. Tapi yang jelas, dunia teknologi saat ini tidak bisa menafikan lagi realitas konvergensi.

Jika dihubungkan dengan sisi komersial, menurut Janoe Arijanto dari Persatuan Perusahaan Periklanan Indonesia, pemasaran dengan medium digital yang kini  digandrungi pengiklan adalah media baru yang mengandung unsur interaktivitas produsen, intermediari pasar, dan konsumen sebagai hasil penggabungan faktor psikologis, humanis, antropologi, dan teknologi multimedia. “Periklanan Indonesia makin kaya dengan media-media non-konvensional dan sangat cepat mengadopsi pola komunikasi kontemporer, khususnya di digital dan mobile,” ujarnya. (Burhan Abe)


Universal Principles of Service Companies in the World

A president, a CEO, and even a mother of an eight-year-old child have the role of leadership. The roles share some certain common principles, the most important of which is the fact that a good leadership comes from a good service. All large service companies in the world also have one thing in common; they encourage all their members to be leaders. The relationship between good leadership and good service is undeniable.

However, it seems that good service is having a miserable decline. Many people have been ignoring the simple truth either in terms of economic, at a higher or personal level.

According to a study conducted by The Forum Corporation, 70% of customers who moved to another company did that because of the poor service provided by the previous company. The more disturbing fact is that 96% of those who moved out did so without saying a word to the company they left behind.

The result shows an immense loss of potential business that is not supposed to happen. If a company has adequate or even remarkable services, their clients will not go anywhere to look for a better service.

One principle says that maintaining a client is much cheaper than spending cost on marketing to get new clients.

Some principles of large service companies that can be applied are as follows:

1.  Lateral service
Lateral service is often known as the "esprit de corps" or team work. Lateral service includes helping a co-worker who is overwhelmed in handling the job or even doing the work of a colleague just to ensure that the work is completed properly. According to Dick Holtzman Sr., former president of RockResorts, lateral service is the art of making other people's mistakes look good. So, there is no employee who says "Sorry, that's not my job."

2. Empowerment
Some companies realize that the most important people in the company are the ones who deal with the clients most of the time. So, it is highly important to keep training these employees to have the ability, the strength, and the power to make decisions that benefit the company through excellent services. It should be noted that most clients prefer to interact with companies whose employees are leaders and decision makers, no matter what their positions are. Jan Carlton, Chief of Scandinavian Airlines Sytems (SAS), can even be a part of the bottom structure of a committee established for a client's event.

3. Visible Leader
"In the best companies, the employees see their leaders every day." - Dick Holtz. Bob Waterman wrote in his book about the MBWA philosophy - Management by Wandering. If the leaders are difficult to find by their employees, do they even have concern for their clients?

4. Statement of Commitment to Clients
"We are Ladies and Gentlemen serving Ladies and Gentlemen." - Ritz Carlton. Oftentimes, what is embedded in the mind of a marketer or a company is that they feel fortunate to work for a big company. But the greater feeling that should be embedded inside is that "You and your company are fortunate to have us as your service providers."

5. Hire for attitude, then Train It
"You are as good as the people you hire." How many companies provide the same service as your company provides? The difference is the people you hire for your company."

6. Encourage participation or Sense of Kinship
Bruce McDonald, Communications Executive of General Motors said, "Individual involvement as part of a team is a definitive step that must be taken by the company in the future. New organization will win if everyone works as a team, including the managers. If that happens, it will be awesome."

7. Sense of Urgency
"You can not build a reputation on what you are going to do." - Henry Ford. One simple imaginable example is how grateful you or your clients are or how big someone will owe you for the favor of making someone's life easier or saving them from destruction.

8. True Concern for the Clients
"There is only one boss, i.e. the customers. They can fire anyone by spending their money somewhere else." - Sam Walton. The cooperation with clients should begin with a question about what concerns them the most so we can provide it in the best way possible.

9. High Appreciation to the Employees
"If you do not appreciate their efforts, you will only get poor performance." Ken Blanchard describes in his book "The One Minute Manager" to convey the concept of “Catching people doing something right". If you do this, will the employees tend to do something wrong? This kind of mentality should be fostered by a leader. In contrast, the tendency to have the mentality of “catching people doing something wrong " only produces two major possibilities, fear and dread. How often do you reward your employees?

10. High Flexibility
"Everything in service industry is about improvisation." Guidelines should have room for change based on the clients' needs because the top guideline to comply with is the customers’ satisfaction and the company's progress.

11. Communication at All Levels
The best companies prioritize effective communications at all levels, with employees, clients, and superiors. Are you one of those who let a problem to get bigger? Communicate promptly all complaints and provide the best solution.

12. Become Prosperous by Implementing Evaluation
"The problem with most of us is that we would rather be ruined by praise than saved by criticism." - Norman Vincent Peale. Evaluation from the employees, clients, or superiors must be obtained before the service ends, so we have plenty of time to fix it before it all ends with dissatisfaction. Do you agree?

(Muhammad Syarifullah – Fortune PR)

Sunday, April 27, 2014

125 Tahun Glenfiddich

The World’s Most Awarded Single Malt Scotch

“Come Join Us for An Exclusive Tasting of The World’s Most Awarded Single Malt Scotch.” Undangan dari Glenfiddich itu cukup menggoda, apalagi acara dengan beberapa media secara terbatas itu dipandu langsung oleh Matthew Fergusson-Stewart, Brand Ambassador untuk William Grant & Sons di Asia Tenggara dan veteran di industri wiski.

Suatu kehormatan, bersama beberapa teman media, saya bisa mencicipi minuman mahal itu di Artoz Bar, Energy Building 2nd Floor, Jakarta, 23 April 2014

Apa sih Glenfiddich itu? Tidak lain adalah wiski Scotch single malt yang paling banyak memperoleh penghargaan di dunia dan tahun ini merayakan 125 tahun sebagai penggagas pembuatan wiski, menampilkan berbagai pilihan wiski mulai dari malt yang paling favorit – Glenfiddich 12 Year Old – sampai dengan yang paling langka Glenfiddich 50 Year Old. Glenfiddich bangga untuk terus melanjutkan inovasi dari penemunya, William Grant, untuk menciptakan minuman terbaik.

12 Years
Glenfiddich 12 Year Old
Glenfiddich 12 Year Old merupakan pionir dari kategori single malt Scotch wiski yang terkenal dan paling banyak disukai dibandingkan dengan single malt Scotch wiski lainnya. Didiamkan selama 12 tahun di dalam drum kayu ek dari Amerika dan Spanyol, peraih berbagai penghargaan dan pengakuan global, wiski ini merayakan sensasi petualangan dari Glenfiddich.

Glenfiddich 12 Year Old memiliki aroma yang lembut dengan khas kesegaran buah dan sedikit aroma buah pir. Rasanya manis dengan aroma buah, yang kemudian berkembang menjadi butterscotch, cream, malt dan rasa ek halus. Di bagian akhirnya terasa lebih lama dan lembut.

Glenfiddich 15 Year Old
Dibuat dengan menggunakan proses distilasi yang unik, Glenfiddich 15 Year Old merupakan ekspresi sejati dari sebuah merek yang penuh petulangan dan berpikir maju ke depan dalam pembuatan wiski. Setelah tersimpan cukup lama di dalam tiga tipe drum kayu ek; sherry, bourbon dan new oak, wiski dibiarkan menyatu dengan Solera Vat hingga menciptakan aroma berbeda yang kaya akan rasa buah, rempah-rempah dan madu bersatu hingga menjadikannya wiski yang original.

15 Years
Glenfiddich 15 Year Old cukup kompleks dengan rasa manisnya madu dan vanilla dikombinasikan dengan buah-buahan berwarna gelap. Rasanya yang lembut, dengan paduan aroma ek sherry, marzipan, kayu manis dan jahe – mengingatkan pada kue natal. Glenfiddich 15 Year Old memiliki cita rasa yang sangat kaya dengan rasa manis yang tahan lama.

Glenfiddich 18 Year Old
Glenfiddich 18 Year Old merupakan bukti keterampilan, rasa petualangan dan semangat kepeloporan pengrajin penyulingan. Diproduksi dalam jumlah sedikit, dengan nomor batch individual, Glenfiddich 18 Year Old mengombinasikan sentuhan manis buah dari kayu Oloroso Spanyol dan aroma ek dari drum tradisional Amerika. Setelah kurang lebih 3 bulan tersimpan, Glenfiddich 18 Year Old menjadi kaya akan kelezatan rasa yang menciptakan single malt Scoth wiski dengan tekstur yang sangat halus dan mendalam. Tiap batch adalah unik dengan kualitas yang terbaik.

Glenfiddich 18 Year Old sangat kaya dengan kematangan orchard fruit, yang ditambahkan dengan rasa buah apel dan aroma ek. Rasanya kaya akan kemewahan aroma buah kering, permen dan kurma yang dilapisi oleh aroma kayu ek yang elegan. Dengan rasa hangat pada bagian akhir, Glenfiddich 18 Year Old merupakan wiski yang berharga dan berbeda untuk dinikmati.

18 Years
Glenfiddich 21 Year Old
Glenfiddich 21 Year Old merupakan warisan dari pendekatan Glenfiddich yang inspiratif, penuh petualangan dan pionir dalam pembuatan wiski. Dibuat dengan cara yang unik selama empat bulan di dalam barel bourbon terpilih yang pernah digunakan untuk menyimpan rum dari Karibia, wiski ini memiliki cita rasa yang memanjakan dan kaya akan rasa manis toffee.

Glenfiddich 21 Year Old memiliki cita rasa yang manis dengan aroma bunga pisang, buah ara dan toffee. Rasa awalnya lembut, kemudian tajam dan memacu adrenalin, pedas, dengan sentuhan vanilla, jahe, dan jeruk nipis. Glenfiddich 21 Year Old memberikan rasa hangat dan pedas yang sangat lama di bagian akhir.

Glenfiddich 30 Year Old
Dibuat dengan ketelitian dan presisi yang luar biasa, Glenfiddich 30 Year Old merupakan ekspresi tertinggi dari standar dan jiwa petualangan Glenfiddich. Tersimpan lama di dalam Oloroso sherry dan drum bourbon – dimana semuanya dipilih langsung oleh Glenfiddich Malt Master, Brian Kinsman, untuk memastikan agar wiski tersebut memiliki kompleksitas aroma dan rasa yang luar biasa. Glenfiddich 30 Year Old merupakan wiski yang sempurna untuk menikmati hidup yang penuh petualangan.

Glenfiddich 30 Year Old memiliki rasa yang lezat dengan kombinasi aroma ek yang sempurna dengan buah dan aroma sherry yang lezat. Cita rasanya kompleks dan menggoda dengan rasa dark cholocate yang dipertegas dengan rasa manis bunga. Glenfiddich 30 Year Old memiliki rasa yang manis dan hangat yang cukup lama di bagian akhirnya.

Glenfiddich 40 Year Old
Glenfiddich 40 Year Old merupakan single malt wiski yang dibuat menggunakan sistem remnant vatting yang inovatif, dipelopori oleh Glenfiddich. Tiap tahun Malt Master kami, Brian Kinsman, memilih sendiri drum yang terbaik dan memadukannya dengan remnant sisa-sisa vatting 40 tahun yang lalu. Proses yang unik ini menghasilkan single malt Scotch wiski yang kaya akan harmoni tanpa batas.

Glenfiddich 40 Year Old sangat kaya akan buah kering, dark chocolate, kopi sangrai dan buah ceri hitam matang dan aroma kayu bakar, dan cengkeh. Rasanya yang lembut dan mewah di awal yang berasal dari buah kering, kue natal, kurma, kismis dan apel kukus yang kemudian ditambahkan dengan sedikit aroma ek kering dan rasa pahit coklat. Rasa akhirnya sangat tahan lama dan kompleks – sebuah pengalaman yang tak terlupakan.

Glenfiddich 50 Year Old
Glenfiddich 50 Year Old merupakan single malt wiski yang langka dan sangat otentik yang pernah dirilis oleh penyulingan paling terkenal di Skotlandia. Wiski ini merupakan produk yang paling orisinil pada saat itu, inspiratif dan penuh petualangan, yang telah menghabiskan 50 tahun dalam drum ek, menciptakan cita rasa yang kompleks dan halus selama bertahun-tahun.

21 Years
Glenfiddich 50 Year Old mengandung nilai yang sangat berharga yang hanya dapat diperoleh dengan waktu dan tetap memiliki cita rasa yang lembut dan elegan. Rasanya yang penuh harmoni dengan kedinamisan, semangat dan kompleks. Rasa awalnya manis dengan selai jeruk yang kuat dan vanila toffee, yang kemudian mengalir menjadi serangkaian lapisan: herbal aromatik, bunga dan buah-buahan lembut, ek tannin yang lembut. Rasa pada bagian akhirnya memiliki sentuhan ek kering dan sedikit aroma gambut.

Glenfiddich Rich Oak
Dibuat secara hati-hati dengan drum ek utuh dari Amerika dan Eropa, Glenfiddich dihormati sepanjang sejarah sebagai penyuling yang memiliki penguasaan kayu yang penuh petualangan dengan merilis 14 tahun Glenfiddich Rich Oak single malt Scotch wiski. Penggunaan drum ek utuh dari Eropa merupakan yang pertama untuk industri single malt wiski, menjadikan Glenfiddich Rich Oak sebagai pemain penting dalam sejarah perintis wiski yang dibuat oleh pabrik penyulingan yang paling banyak memperoleh penghargaan.

Glenfiddich Rich Oak merupakan perpaduan buah-buahan segar dan rempah-rempah. Rasa pedas ek di awal diikuti dengan rasa vanila dan kaya akan buah kering. Setelah terasa aroma buah kering, kismis dan aprikot. Dengan perjalanan waktu, aroma toffee yang lembut mucul, bersamaan dengan karamelisasi buah pir dan aroma bunga yang lembut. Glenfiddich Rich Oak memiliki rasa yang manis vanilla dengan tekstur lembut dan elegan dari sentuhan buah. Rasa awalnya lidah terasa seperti kesemutan dan pedas, setelah itu rasanya kemudian semakin dalam dan kaya dengan waktu dan memiiki rasa pedas yang dahsyat. Di bagian akhir terasa hangat dan pedas ek dengan cukup lama.

Glenfiddich Age of Discovery Madeira Cask Finish
Glenfiddich Age of Discovery Madeira Cask Finish, yang merayakan semangat petualangan dari penjelajah Portugis pada abad ke-15, merupakan Glenfiddich 19 Year Old single malt Scotch wiski pertama yang pernah ada.

Pionir rute pelayaran dari Eropa ke Thailand dan Malaysia dalam rangka mencari jalan menuju India, penjelajah dari Portugis membangun kota di Macao, di China, dan memberikan Taiwan nama ilha Formosa (pulau yang indah) dan menemukan pulau Porto Santoo dan Madeira, merevolusi pemahaman kita akan dunia.

19 Year Old Glenfiddich Age of Discovery Madeira Cask Finish memiliki aroma buah ara matang, karamelisasi buah dan pedasnya kayu manis dan lada hitam.

Glenfiddich Snow Phoenix
Pada Oktober 2010, Glenfiddich merilis Snow Phoenix – sebuah wiski yang unik yang tercipta dari kesempatan dan kesulitan yang diperingati sebagai momen drama dalam sejarah panjang Glenfiddich. Pada Januari 2010, setelah berminggu-minggu terjadi salju besar dan suhu udara yang rendah, salju padat setebal empat kaki yang menyelimuti atap penyulingan Glenfiddich menyebabkan sejumlah gudang runtuh, meninggalkan drum ek yang sudah matang terpapar hawa dinginnya malam. Di musim dingin dengan temperature -19˚C, para staff penyulingan bekerja berjam-jam untuk membersihkan salju.

Sebagai hasilnya – Glenfiddich Snow Phoenix – dibuat dari perpaduan kekuatan alam dan drum penyaring non-chil dari usia yang berbeda, termasuk ek Amerika dan Oloroso sherry. Glenfiddich Snow Phoenix adalah krim vanila berbaur dengan cita rasa apel dan pir dilengkapi dengan aroma bunga segar. Rasanya mengingatkan aroma apel yang dipanggang di atas bara api unggun, dan dimaniskan dengan madu disertai dengan sepotong coklat, kaya dan kompleks dengan aroma gula dibakar, kopi dan asap kayu. Rasanya seperti tidak pernah habis – rasa lembut sherry dengan rasa manis yang nikmat. Kemasan monokrom yang unik dan kualitas foto yang menarik terbayarkan dengan penghormatan dramatis untuk wiski yang luar biasa ini dan detail cerita yang luar biasa ini.

Tentang William Grant & Sons dan Glenfiddich
William Grant & Sons, Ltd. adalah keluarga pemilik penyulingan independen yang terkenal berkantor pusat di Inggris dan didirikan oleh William Grant pada tahun 1886. Sekarang, perusahaan spirit ini dipimpin oleh generasi kelima dan menyuling sejumlah merek Scotch wiski terkemuka di dunia, termasuk single malt Glenfiddich® paling favorit di dunia, rangkaian produk The Balvenie®, single malt yang dibuat secara tradisional dengan tangan dan blended Scotch Grant’s® terbesar ketiga di dunia serta merek spirit iconic lainnya seperti Hendrick’s® Gin, Sailor Jerry®, Milagro® Tequila dan yang paling baru, Tullamore Dew Irish Whiskey.

Informasi lebih jauh:

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Are Magazine Apps Dead?

A State of the Art Roundtable

Just a little under four years ago I headed down to St. Petersburg, Florida for an iPad conference at the Poynter Institute hosted and organized by Mario Garcia. A small but very engaged group of newspaper, magazine, and digital designers gathered to see and hear reports on the very first wave of app creations. My iPad had just arrived from Apple the day before and was still fresh in its box, and I spent a lot of the conference busily downloading apps from a wide array of publications (remember how long those downloads used to take?). It was a heady and exciting moment, and almost everyone at that conference left to go home and launch new, groundbreaking app projects across a wide variety of styles and platforms.

I used the experience of Mario’s conference to talk my way into a job at Reader’s Digest, helping to launch their magazine app, and later another for Best Health, a related magazine published in Toronto. There were iPad conferences, workshops, case studies that were published in design magazines and websites, and it seemed like everybody was working on an app project.

Not anymore. We’ve come a long way since a top creative director breathlessly told me that “the iPad is the biggest thing to happen to magazines since the printing press.” And while some magazines continue to publish exciting, engaging iPad editions — National Geographic, Esquire, Popular Mechanics, and Bon Appetit are doing top-notch work — for many the rich, textural digital versions filled with original content and experiences have devolved into what are essentially flat replicas. Readers and especially magazine makers have failed to embrace the new magazine apps in large (or even medium) numbers. I was recently with a roomful of top magazine editors and creative directors at the National Magazine Awards and it was apparent that none of them had a passion or sense of engagement with apps; iPad magazines simply were not an essential part of their world.

What went wrong? Are iPad apps dead, or do they still have a bright future? I reached out for answers to some of the smartest magazine makers I know, folks who have been active in creating dynamic editorial products on multiple platforms, from print magazines to daily newspapers to websites. And of course, they’ve all been integral in the development of some memorable magazine app projects. I asked them about the lack of enthusiasm for apps, how the production system has affected app creation, and whether there’s a future for digital magazines on the tablet platform.

Here’s what they had to say.


Dr. Mario R. García has worked on more than 650 media design projects as the CEO and founder of García Media. His last app project was the Kronen HD iPad app for the Austrian newspaper Kronen Zeitung.

David Jacobs is the CEO of 29th Street Publishing. Their most recent app was Radio Silence.

Josh Klenert is Executive Director in the Digital Customer Experience team for JPMorgan Chase. Prior to that he was Vice President, Design & UX for The Huffington Post Media Group and served as the creative director for Huffington magazine app. His latest app project was Huffington magazine and the redesigns of the HuffPost news apps for iOS7 and Android.

Jeremy Leslie‘s London-based magCulture studio designs editorial projects for print and digital publication. He also blogs, writes and speaks about editorial design (read more at His latest iPad project is the Frieze magazine app; he also designed online publishing project Aeon.

Joe Zeff is president of Joe Zeff Design, a boutique studio that designs and develops apps for corporations, universities and publishers. His latest app is Spies of Mississippi: The Appumentary. Prior to that, Joe Zeff Design created the official Super Bowl XLVIII app for the National Football League.

A lot of people are very cynical about the current state of magazine apps based on print editions. “The app is dead” is something I hear a lot, amid complaints that they’ve been replaced by an endless series of flat replicas, designed in a one-size-fits-all format. Do you agree with this? Or are you still optimistic about the future of magazine apps, and think there is lots of creative work ahead?

Josh Klenert: I would not say the app is dead, but it might have a bullet wound to the leg. It’s probably not been the silver bullet that the magazine industry hoped for 3+ years ago. There is certainly some great work being done in the space, but the scale and audience is just not there and that has a lot to do with replicating the production cycle of a print magazine. A digital product that only updates once a month is a relic. A lot of what was done in wave 1 of app magazines ignored the lessons of web over the last 20+ years. I am incredibly optimistic about magazine-like storytelling on digital devices, but binding them to print production cycles in monolithic downloads must evolve. I think that’s why we’re starting to see lots of robust feature-length stories told directly on the web in responsive web packaging.

David Jacobs: I don’t think it’s fair to say the app is dead – rather the app was never alive. (This question nearly answers itself!) What we have learned is that the replica will never be successful. Consumers have soundly rejected them: digital subscriptions make up only 3% of total subscriptions. But I am of course optimistic about the future of magazine apps, since the industry has an opportunity for a reboot. There is a challenge (and an opportunity) since the mainstream conception of a magazine app is what amounts to a photo gallery of pages of a magazine, with the occasional widget or animation. But that’s not a transformation that is going to happen overnight.

Joe Zeff: I wouldn’t say that magazine apps are dead, but that they are in dire need of a transfusion. I continue to be optimistic because there’s no stopping the proliferation of tablets. There will continue to be a market for applications built specifically for these devices. The industry needs to shift its focus toward brand extension. Let’s face it, if consumers can get the same content in their mailbox, newsstand and browser, there’s little justification for downloading a 250-megabyte magazine. Instead, excite them with new products that come to life on tablets: experiential content, utility applications, multimedia delivered offline. The going rate for a digital magazine is zero, as publishers have made them free with print subscriptions. The average price for an iBook is $9. There lies an opportunity to monetize content — one of many.

Mario García: I am optimistic, first of all. I think the state of magazine design for tablets is still in its infancy. It has not helped that the economic climate for publishers has not been up to par with the ambitions of editors and designers. Having said that, there is much that could have been done already, three years after the first iPads rolled out of the Apple factory. We still see a lot of static, turn-the-page-type of magazine apps. We need to begin to look at the tablet’s peculiarities, to what it can do, and then exploit that. It is not a print publication per se. It is a combination of book, film documentary, a little TV, some radio. It is multisensory, and we have not explored that fully yet. It is also the closest we can come, so far, to a digital experience that matches a lot of the intuitive movements that we are familiar with via print.

Jeremy Leslie: I’m very disappointed by the current state of magazine apps, but it’s not as black and white as you portray; we’re still only at the beginning of a longer experiment in the form. The initial excitement across the industry, from publishers and creatives, has subsided as the reality of making apps hit home. From a business point of view the promise of easily slipping app production into the print workflow was foolishly naive, while editors and designers who were keen to experiment soon found themselves stretched too thin. On top of this, sales have been disappointing so most apps have reverted to simpler replicas as a holding pattern while publishers work out next steps.

Whether or not paid apps downloaded to tablets is the way forward for editorial content remains to be seen. But what they have done is demonstrate to the print-is-dead fundamentalists that digital content can’t just be raw information. Instantaneous access to content is becoming the norm; we’re now seeing that the need for differentiation in digital presentation is becoming desirable. How does my content look different to my competitors? How will a subscriber distinguish The Guardian from The New York Times?

What do you think of the current format and presentation of magazine apps? Do you think that the dominance of DPS as a production/creation tool has had a good or bad effect?

Joe Zeff: It’s easy to blame Adobe DPS for the spate of lookalike magazines; instead, I blame the publishers. They blindly followed AAM née ABC guidelines and created digital magazines that were hardly different from print. They prioritized customer retention over customer acquisition and focused on rate base expansion instead of new product development. They have failed to excite advertisers, blaming weak CPM numbers that could be strengthened by aggregating audiences through networks. As our projects at Joe Zeff Design have demonstrated again and again, DPS is a wonderful platform for launching new products that engage consumers. A la carte magazines, interactive modules, utility-based applications — they’re all possible today, thanks in part to Adobe DPS.

That’s not to say DPS couldn’t be better. The platform currently includes the ability to publish folio content to Adobe’s proprietary web viewer. Most DPS features work fine; there remain issues with scaling and swiping. If publishers could push more dynamic experiences to the web, they could reach larger audiences with app-like content and better address the opportunity to sell interactive advertising.

Josh Klenert: DPS has its pros and cons, but it’s not the only solution for publishing a magazine app. If building your own app is not a solution there are plenty of other options out there including PRSS, DShare, Mag+, and Readymag.

Jeremy Leslie: DPS served a vital role kick starting publishers into thinking about app editions, but in the longer term has proved to be a misdirection. I’m sure most of us remember opening early editions of the Wired app on which DPS was modeled. Hugely exciting, but absurdly over-promising. What budget and resource did the Wired team have for those issues? (And why are those first issues unavailable to view today?) DPS sold itself as a plug-in for InDesign, something easily assimilated into the workflow, but its central conceptual link to the printed page is flawed. It was the result of a rushed development to meet the iPad launch and has served the industry poorly since. But it has had a domino effect on publishers and their HTML developers. Snowfall and other attempts at web-based long form editorial design have been encouraged by apps.

Why have readers failed to embrace magazine apps in the numbers that we all once hoped? Is the problem the app format, the tablets, or something more fundamental?

David Jacobs: A lot of the thinking about how audiences work on the Internet is flawed. For years, the thinking was “all audiences are moving on-line.” OK, that’s an interesting assertion! So what happened? Websites rebuilt themselves to be better clients for Google, and then again to be better clients for Facebook and Twitter, and now we are seeing the beginnings of that happening again – for folks to be more like Buzzfeed and Upworthy. This is an incremental improvement – Buzzfeed and Upworthy both advertise their empathy for users as a cornerstone for what they believe in.

But overall, the way audiences behave on-line (and on mobile) is much less predictable than anyone thought it would be. Successful products focus on accessibility, experience and flexibility.  Traditionally, mobile magazines have fallen down on all three of those. By the way, print magazines, especially this most recent generation of independent magazines, completely understand this and take advantage of it. Start-up publishers are taking advantage of social networks to find their ideal audience and then sending them beautiful print products. And it’s a great experience flipped around, too – as a reader and a fan of magazines, the joy of searching for (and finding) a new print magazine is not something the average tablet experience can touch.

Mario García: I think the readers will come around.  I wish I knew why they have not flocked to magazine apps in greater numbers and with greater passion. But this is a matter of time. I repeat that this is a genre in its infancy. But I also admit, that magazine apps must make themselves so unique and interesting that readers will realize they cannot go without them. The flat and static ones that abound are not going to do the job, except that they are more portable, than, let’s say a 401-page edition of the printed Vanity Fair.

Josh Klenert: We’ve learned over the last 20 years of publishing on the web, that to gain scale you need to leverage search and social to build an audience. It’s not true that “if you build it, they will come.” The same is true for apps. Right now, they are a destination. If a user connects with your brand, they will come, consume, and hopefully return. For example, with our HuffPost news app, we see that it’s a destination that sees more page views per visitor versus mobile web, but mobile web sees more unique users. But this is for a news product that is updated hundreds of times a day, not a weekly or monthly publication that lands with a thud. Those weekly/monthly publications then just sit in the Newsstand collecting dust in between updates while users move on to products that embrace the always-connected digital platform; ones that simply provide more stuff more often. I certainly don’t think you can blame the tablets themselves. You can’t argue with the vast number of iPads or Android tablets sold or apps downloaded (and used), and it’s not the usability of the iPad either. How many times have you seen a two year old flawlessly zip around on an iPad?

Joe Zeff: At Joe Zeff Design we’re less enthusiastic about magazine-style apps as a broadcast medium; instead, we leverage their ability to narrowcast. We target specific audiences with specific content. Personalization is the next frontier; my own magazine should reflect my own interests, not just those of the masses. Whether that takes shape through browser-based or native applications, there’s an opportunity to blend curated, dynamic and social content to deliver unique experiences. Apps can make those experiences even more personalized by attaching that content to utility functions that interact with one’s calendar, photographs, contacts and preferences.

Jeremy Leslie: Tablets are great for watching movies, playing games, reading websites, checking emails, listening to music, tweeting, facebooking and answering questionnaires like this one. And now you’re saying that in addition to all these activities I have the option to spend money on a 350-meg download of a product that is better in print? The problem is fundamental (and reflected in Apple’s lack of interest in the magazine app. Abandon Newsstand!) An exception is as an alternative to physical distribution. If a print magazine is expensive and slow to arrive in a far-flung part of the world, an app is a great get-round. I designed the Frieze magazine app, and that’s their strategy.

Who is creating exciting, dynamic magazine apps, and will we see more of them in the future?

David Jacobs: Obviously, I think our apps (29th Street Publishing) are the best. I would say, though, that we are 1 or 2% of where we have to be in terms of offering design flexibility and the user experience. DPS was necessary – it was a brute-force solution (and really a rather remarkable one) to get every title in the store and doing business. And for the last few years, from a business perspective, it’s basically a cool perk for print subscribers. The most successful stand-alone app has mid-four figure subscribers. But if you look at every other form of media – books, music, television, media, video games, it’s all gone majority mobile, and at some point this year may even go to 66%+ penetration for mobile. Magazines are still stuck in single-digits. So we can’t really say DPS was good or bad. It is dominant, but it’s dominant in a relatively small fishbowl. But what we’re allowed now is the chance to figure out what comes next. And DPS deserves credit for priming the pump.

Josh Klenert: National Geographic continues to do amazing multimedia storytelling and that ports to their magazine app really well. I really like how Esquire and The Atlantic have started to put out weekly editions. Popular Mechanics explodes every month with unique story telling devices. GQ & Time have been doing an amazing amount of incredible work in video. Just looking over the list of finalists for this years SPD Awards show how much awe-inspiring, vibrant, and creative work is being done in the digital medium.

Joe Zeff: Conde Nast has been the most forward-thinking publisher. Wired has been out front since Day One, creating new content for their tablet editions that make their apps feel special. The New Yorker and Vanity Fair have wonderful iPhone editions that combine smart design with sensible HTML programming. The company’s partnership with MasterCard to infuse magazines with e-commerce capability is a step in the right direction.

Mario García: I’m not so sure. I haven’t heard of many in the traditional magazine app mode that are doing interesting things lately. The most interesting apps for me are those trying to rethink the mobile news experience altogether: Circa, Breaking News, NYT Now, NowThis News. I am also interested in the few experiments in new packages of content (rather than adapting a printed magazine to the tablet), notably Esquire Weekly. The publications that are more able to experiment by breaking out of the confines of translating a printed page to digital are the most promising. (Thanks to García Media art director Reed Reibstein for assistance with this question.)

Jeremy Leslie: I think we’ve seen many apps shine brightly for an issue or two then fade. They take a huge investment in time and money for very little response from a skeptical public. DPS happens to work very well for The New Yorker — that magazine’s strength of vision meant it translated instantly to the tablet. It didn’t feel the need to add bells and whistles, it understood what it’s readers valued about its print edition — reading.

The only other app worth mentioning remains Letter to Jane; that app is the single one I’m aware of that sought to link content design and ux design to produce a simple intuitive and enjoyable experience. Some of Tim Moore’s other work at 29th Street Publishing shares his thoughts in this too, but the necessary templating restricts invention. Steve Gregor made clever use of DPS for an iPad edition of his Gym Class Magazine, hiding some of the clumsy nav tools. Other bespoke apps have made some interesting experiments, but are generally too reliant on video and animation and become heavy files — too long to download and too large to keep on your tablet.

When the iPad and magazine apps were launched, there was a lot of enthusiasm in the art director world, but with the rise of replica apps, a lot of the initial energy has dissipated. Many people feel now that app work is basically production work. Is there a future for art directors who are interested in creating apps?

Mario García: I think that there are great possibilities for creative art directors, but I admit that those possibilities may still be greater, in terms of freedom with the canvas, in print.  Digital design can have a lot of creative input, but one must adapt to the realities of templates that facilitate production. It is, in my view, the quintessential 60% formula, 40% surprise. But the surprise element is there for the creative art director to explore and to enjoy with gusto.

Josh Klenert: Right now various business rules are probably getting in the way of products that are designed more for a digital medium than print. That said, we’re still in the early days and as we are still seeing with the web — the rules continue to change. I would not throw in the towel just yet. The cliché “change is the only constant” comes to mind. I lean towards digging in and being apart of this ongoing evolution. There is certainly still opportunity for exciting development — most likely stepping away from being bound so closely to print.

Joe Zeff: There is enormous potential for those with entrepreneurial spirit, as the playing field is flat. Large publishers have few advantages over individual designers when it comes to creating content for tablets. In fact, the burdens placed on publishers to support mulitplatform ubiquity give individuals and small studios a decisive edge. Our latest project, Spies of Mississippi: The Appumentary, started with a blank sheet of paper, not a mandate to create weekly or monthly issues on five different platforms. If you approach app work as production work, then that’s all it will be. If you approach apps as a way to deliver immersive, intuitive multitouch experiences that leverage the capabilities of tablet computers, you may just change the world.

Jeremy Leslie: We mustn’t let initial app production experience dilute the bigger message — the digital future for editorial designers is online. Well-designed digital editorial is inevitable, but probably won’t be apps.

How will the magazine app publishing scene be different a year from now? Will we be having an “apps are back!” roundtable next year?

Josh Klenert: My best guess is that there will be bigger shifts on the business side that will allow for more scale. Platforms like Zinio, ISSUU, and Next Issue will reach massive scale with ecosystems to consume magazine content no matter where users are will thrive. Think of YouTube for videos. Videos can be watched on YouTube or be embedded anywhere. Publishing ecosystems that don’t allow for this will disappear.

Big publishers may go the way of the music industry and start to unbundle content (think singles vs. full albums) — possibly with a fremium model. Content a user consumes will become more passively personalized for the user. Its like adding elements of a personalized Flipboard-like experience which shows the content you are most interested in. For example, I read lots of movie reviews from Entertainment Weekly; well then I should start to see more entertainment content from Time appear in my magazine. I bookmark a story about summer suits in GQ; well then I should start to see more fashion content from Details appear. These apps need to ultimately become native to their digital platforms and evolve into utilities that people go to on a daily basis. In order to do this, like the web before it, the direct connection to a printed publication cycle needs to be broken.

David Jacobs: Next year — about the same. Maybe a 1.5x or 2x growth, with a few new hits by start-ups and established players alike. Hopefully a couple of our titles will be in the mix, but I think folks like Offline Magazine and the team at Glide are going to be pushing new titles as well.

If you think of the watershed apps, very few of them were anything considered replica. There are huge video games that are similar to the big Xbox & Playstation hits of the last decade, but the biggest hits are built with the iPhone in mind – touch-focused interface, playable in short bursts, quickly addictive. The same is true for albums like Beyoncé’s — a launch like hers (with videos for every song) wouldn’t have been possible with iTunes. She just couldn’t have pressed & shipped 10M DVDs without people getting a sniff of it. And I think we’re beginning to see the same sort of “on-line-first” release with TV and movies now as well. That’s possibly the best analogy to magazines. The DVD market was enormous (and still is), but all of the exciting art is happening in serialized dramas that are basically produced to be consumed later — not when and where it’s aired.

Mario García: A year from now? Perhaps we’ll see more of the multimedia storytelling (à la Snow Fall) that some newspapers are exploring come to magazine apps.”

Joe Zeff: The next generation of digital publications shifts control from the publisher to the consumer, allowing the consumer to determine what content they want and how and when they want to consume it. It’s time to rip the covers off of traditional magazines and deliver a la carte publications with a la carte advertising. Apps for phones and tablets can more readily access personal information than browsers, and that makes them a worthwhile platform for innovation. Personalized magazines combine content from all over through plug-and-play APIs — magazines, television, social feeds, Nest thermostats, Fitbit trackers, and bank statements. They are always in the right place at the right time, helping me to work, shop, decide and play. Done right, they become inextricable.

Whether that happens one or five years from now remains to be seen. But we need to keep moving in that direction in order to get there. We can’t and shouldn’t stop now.

Jeremy Leslie: I’d love to be able to respond positively here, but I think we’re closer to the “remember when we thought apps might be the saviour of publishing” reunion roundtable. And perhaps someone will bring a first gen iPad that hasn’t been synced for three years, and we can view those original Wired apps.