Dennis Publishing has launched a rival to Nuts and Zoo called Monkey. What’s different to Dennis’ other mags, which include Maxim and Bizarre, is that Monkey is Internet-only – it’s an e-magazine for the ‘MySpace generation’.
A subscription is free. Whilst the design is impressive, much of the content seems to be culled from other Dennis titles (e.g. there’s plenty of ‘cross-promotion’ and pics from Bizarre). It’s also encouraging readers to donate their content for free.
What is probably most interesting is its use of Ceros Digital Editions, a product from UK e-publishing firm Applecart. Digital Living, a recent technology magazine launch from Emap, also uses the technology for its sample edition.
In most cases, users will have to download the pluggin. Once loaded, I found it quite clunky and slow, – even over my Blueyonder broadband connection. I liked the handy ‘clipping feature’ which allows you to save cuts from the magazine. Ceros also allows the user to ‘search’ a magazine – although this handy feature is disabled on Monkey.
Ceros provides publishers with stats about what pages are viewed and what interactive content is being clicked at – which is obviously pretty useful info to have. With paper-based magazines you’re never quite sure what the readers are actually looking at.
Maxim has struggled to compete with Nuts or Zoo, yet I doubt Monkey is going to take off in any big way. Dennis claims to have signed up 250,000 subscribers prior to the launch, but people sign-up to anything if it’s free.
The whole experience of browsing takes some getting used too. On the net we like to be able to hop around a site using navigation bars, yet the Ceros technology seems to assume users will read the magazine from the front to the back in a very ‘linear’ way. But I guess the content may well appeal to teen boys who are too young or too shy to buy Zoo or Nuts in a newsagent or perhaps they are targeting an international audience?