Jan 19, 2011

Our Kind of Concept Video

Rajan Dev's picture
Rajan Dev

Sometimes the best way to tell a story is to show it.

When the iPad launched in early 2010, we were honored to play a role. Our designs for the Zinio application, included on every iPad, delivered lush magazine spreads to early adopters. The Zinio app quickly became one of the top 10 downloaded free news applications. Everyone–consumers, publishers, and designers and developers like ourselves—wanted to know what was next.

How could magazine readers engage further with rich and relevant content?

How could publishers like Hearst Magazines—whose circulation reaches more than 73 million adults, with 14 U.S. titles and nearly 200 international editions—set trends in the technology space rather than following them?

How could editors establish, prepare for, and deliver on, the digital promise of their magazines?

How could Zinio—which allows readers to pay once for a magazine subscription or single issue, and then view it on a number of different devices—communicate what was technically possible, and inspire their publishing clients to leverage the ever-evolving Zinio and Hearst App Lab toolset?

And of course—as President of Hot, an avid magazine fan, and a former publishing industry executive—I was asking myself, "How can we help?"

The Hearst AppLab concept video was conceived as a collaborative effort between Hot Studio, Hearst, and Zinio. Hot's Matthew Carlson lead the charge to deliver this story–you could call it "the near-future of interactive publishing"—for the Hearst executive and editorial teams.

"Sizzle with Substance"

Seventeen and Marie Claire magazines were selected as models for our interface and content concepts. The magazines' editors, Ann Shoket and Joanna Coles, respectively, worked closely with Hot on their demo issues for the video. We found their target readers and filmed them in the streets and shops of NYC. We considered the environments in which they'd be digitally perusing their favorite magazines. We then interviewed Ann and Joanna, and used their voices as the backdrop for the concepts we were presenting.

Through live action, studio shots, animation, and lots of long nights spent editing, ideas came to life: Seventeen's Katy Perry music clip on the cover; finding a store while browsing a “shop the shoot” spread in Marie Claire; and the ability to easily share articles and "swipe" and "tap" to related content in both magazines.

Our perfectionism came into play as the Hot team shot hand models and obsessed over the highly customized layouts and interface elements. Yet our realism was always "at hand" too. We were working closely with our partners on their development roadmap and application designs. We wanted to push the boundaries—and had to deliver on what we were promising the publishers!

One Video, One Chapter in a Bigger Story

I'm most proud of how seamless the video feels. And of the trust the Hearst and Zinio teams put into Hot. This is just the beginning of a much bigger story about the future of interactive publishing. As we start the new year, I feel like Hot's right where we're meant to be.

For your viewing pleasure, here's the Marie Claire segment of the Hearst AppLab video.

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