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PART OF THE COSMOS: Cosmopolitan’s first iPad app, “The Showcase Edition,” will go up for sale on iTunes later this week. “Unlike almost everything you’re seeing out there, there’s tons of functionality,” said editor in chief Kate White, showing off the app last week in her office. “This is a favorite — ‘Decode His Bedroom Sounds,’” White continued. She tapped the screen and turned up the volume. “Let’s say my guy is a ‘loud moaner.’” Unholy sounds issued from the device.
The app is surprisingly innovative — it’s cleverly interactive, despite being a faithful synthesis of the Cosmopolitan brand, which has always seemed more interested in mass-scale newsstand triumph than technological innovation. One page live-streams data like a stock ticker from a survey on Esquire’s Web site about what DVD men are most interested in renting. Another page presents a typical magazine quiz, “Are you a gutsy chick?,” and tallies the results instantly. There are also plenty of photos of shirtless men. But one thing is absent from the app: articles. As White flipped through, it seemed like only two screens in the app are dedicated to writing. The app will be updated every month with some, but not all, of the magazine’s content.
Asked if she was worried the app might be too raunchy, she said, “No, we don’t cross any line like that. The guiding principle we had was: We’re a mainstream magazine.” The app will cost $2.99. Marisa Ollins, a spokeswoman for Hearst, said the app won’t be available in the Android Market, but later apps from the magazine will.
The app also represents a step forward for Hearst on the business side. Publisher Donna Kalajian Lagani created an in-app marketplace for advertisers called the Cosmopolitan Boulevard. Last Wednesday at the Bloomberg Media Summit, Hearst Magazines president David Carey said his company will be creating more opportunities to sell advertiser’s products on the iPad. “If you talk to the people at Net-a-porter or the people at Gilt, they say they’re increasingly commerce companies moving into content, and I think what you’re going to find is content companies are going to move into commerce,” he said. “They trust us with those recommendations, and I think we have to find the proper ways, again, to monetize that.
“So you can imagine the day that 20 or 25 percent of our circulation can be in tablet form,” Carey continued, “and you see the beautiful men’s suit from Zegna available at Saks Fifth Avenue. It’s a service to the reader that they can just click on that and to be able to buy it.”
— ZEKE TURNER