Publishers say their research shows having a tricked-out app isn’t the highest priority. “The number one benefit is to have a great reading experience reading the tablet,” says Steve Sachs, executive vice president of consumer marketing and sales at Time Inc. “Interactive elements are valuable to [readers], but they’re a secondary benefit.”
Similarly, Hearst Corp. says its research found no meaningful difference in willingness to pay for magazine apps based on advanced elements.
“Those advanced elements are often more likely to be distracting, cause confusion, and occasionally irritate customers if the execution is not perfect,” says Chris Wilkes, the Hearst Magazines vice president in charge of its App Lab. One might expect readers of a magazine like Popular Mechanics to be more interested in enhanced content than readers of something like Good Housekeeping, but Wilkes says there wasn’t a significant difference.
Others warn, however, that it’s a mistake to go plain vanilla.
…Rebecca McPheters, president, McPheters & Co., … whose iMonitor service rates apps, says high-scoring utilities like those from The New York Times, The New Yorker, Wired, and Martha Stewart Living are highly enhanced. “Our analysis showed people are seeking out the enriched experience.”