The Big Issue South Africa, in collaboration with Berg + Bach, has launched its first digital magazine application, enabling readers beyond its vendors’ Cape Town selling area to purchase the magazine and support the job creation NGO.
The app released on January 24 is for iPad, iPhone and Android devices and available from iTunes and Google-Play. The first digital edition released in the app is for the bumper 2012/2013 Collector’s Edition, which features 60 of South Africa’s best writers, thought leaders, photographers, cartoonists, poets and illustrators.
The edition is enhanced with multi-media content, offering digital buyers a whack of additional content and features. This includes: a song off 2012/2013 Collector’s Edition cover star Hugh Masekela’s newly-released album ‘Playing at Work’; additional photo slideshows complementing photography in the magazine; video interviews and audio clips related to content; related live links and much more. In addition, readers who purchase this app can download digital versions of The Big Issue’s best-selling 2010 and 2011 Collector’s Editions at no charge.
Get the app
For Apple, click HERE
For Android, click HERE
Content comes alive
“The Big Issue app makes the information in the Collector’s Edition alive. By adding multimedia to the digital issue, the content in the magazine becomes so much richer. When one opens the app, you can actually hear Hugh Masekela, who is featured on the cover, play. Curious to know the other features — just go and buy the app!” said Miriam Hainebach, Creative Director for Berg + Bach:
The 2012/2013 Collector’s Edition app is priced at around R35 (US$ 3.99 EUR 3.59 and GBP 2.49), making it roughly the same price as the hard copy, which was being sold on the streets of Cape Town and in a few parts of Johannesburg for R30.
Vendors still benefit
The release of its first magazine app is a bold move for The Big Issue SA, which provides employment to around 200 vendors who sell the monthly magazine and make a living by earning 50% of the cover price.
Trudy Vlok, managing director, said she was confident the app will not impact on vendors’ sales, as markets outside their selling areas are being targeted for digital sales.
“Our vendors primarily sell in the Cape Town CBD and greater Cape Town area, while only a handful of vendors are active in Johannesburg. We are marketing the digital app to other areas in South Africa and abroad — especially expat markets — and offering readers there an opportunity to experience the magazine and support us,” she explained.
Vlok added that, by buying the digital app, readers would still be supporting vendors, as any profits made from the digital app go directly to The Big Issue’s social development and job creation programmes, which benefit vendors (visit www.bigissue.org.za for more on these programmes).
Editor Melany Bendix said that although people within vendor selling areas will be able to buy the app, she strongly believes this will not impact vendors’ hard copy sales: “Buyers of The Big Issue are very loyal to their vendors. Based on our experience, we are confident they will continue to buy the hard copy from their vendor, even if they choose to purchase the digital version as well,” she said, adding that the app should be viewed as a different product to the print edition.
First of 14 digi editions
The 2012/2013 Collector’s Edition is the first of 14 digital editions that will be created for The Big Issue going into 2013.
“From January to November 2013, The Big Issue magazine will be available monthly for iPad, iPhone and Android at a cost of around R24.99 per edition,” Bendix confirmed. “We aim to grow our market of readers via the monthly app and to benefit our vendors from increased sales, the profits of which will fund programmes for their benefit.”
The late January edition of The Big Issue will be released digitally next week. © The Big Issue SA