Geodesic, the digital messaging and content solutions company which acquired renowned children’s magazine Chandamama, has launched the magazine on the iOS platform, with a universal (iPad/iPhone) app, that lets users buy and download the magazine’s monthly issue, and read it on their tablets, mobile phones or iPods. At the moment, only the English language edition is available, however, Geodesic intends to make available, regional language editions, as well.
The app uses Apple’s in-app purchase feature, letting users buy issues inside the app. Note that they are priced at $0.99, against the magazine’s regular hard-copy price of Rs.25. While the June issue is included with the app, the July one can be downloaded. We hope that archived issues are also made available. The value-add that the app offers is a text to speech tool, which reads out the text in the magazine pages, but it doesn’t work effectively at all times.
Although other players in the segment such as ACK Media are already offering comic books and story books through apps, Chandamama, as an Indian children’s magazine has acquired a dedicated following, over the years. When Geodesic launched the web edition of Chandamama, we had suggested that they should target devices other than the PC. The iPad being accepted as a device of choice for reading, is a great platform.
However, kids in the age group that it targets, especially in B and C class towns in India are unlikely to have access to an iPad, and the smartphone penetration – although it is growing – is still very low in India.
So perhaps the app will find a user base amongst the Indian diaspora in overseas markets, making the magazine accessible to kids who otherwise would have no idea about Chandamama. We feel Geodesic should also launch an Android and a Java app to extend its reach.
Also, the web version still does not offer a downloadable .pdf version of the magazine, and uses a browser based interface. Why not introduce subscription based downloads, keeping the web-only version free, to extend its portability across devices?