Offline magazine for iOS offers five high quality pieces of writing each month — specifically tailored for mobile users — while also giving talented writers a stake in the app’s revenue.
The tough economy of the media industry is resulting in record layoffs of journalists and increased reliance on snappy and populist content to retain the attention of today’s mobile web surfers. We recently saw how startups such as Uncoverage are using new business models to keep longform investigative journalism alive, and now Offlinemagazine for iOS offers five high quality pieces of writing each month — specifically tailored for mobile users — while also giving talented writers a stake in the app’s revenue.
Rather than bombarding users with high quantities of short content — which has become the assumed standard for today’s mobile audience — Offline focuses on other aspects of consuming content on the go in order to maintain a high calibre of writing. Each monthly issue features only five essays on esoteric subjects by renowned writers, together adding up to around an hour’s worth of reading. As well as being designed specifically with iOS in mind, the app also offers professionally-voiced readings of each piece, giving users the option to listen to the end of an article if they didn’t finish reading it on the train, for example.
Instead of following the industry standard for paying journalists per word, Offline offers its contributors 10 percent of the app’s revenue for the month they’re featured. Co-founder Tom Smith hopes that this model will mean each writer is paid around USD 5,000-10,000 for a thousand-word piece, rather than the more typical USD 0.50-2.00 a word. The app is free to download from the App Store, and users pay USD 0.99 a month for a subscription to the title. Issue 2 has just been released.
Are there other ways to cater for the mobile crowd without sacrificing quality of content?