Bonnier adds tablet-only car and travel publication Roadtrip to ranks of iPad-only publications

THETFORD CENTER, Vermont , December 9, 2010 () – Publishers are shoveling money into tablet publications in the hopes of tapping new sources of revenue, but most are content with creating iPad apps of existing print magazines. A few, however, are launching tablet-only pubs, and Bonnier is one of those publishers.

Bonnier’s tablet-only publication will be called Roadtrip, and will feature two subject areas, cars and travel.

“Ninety-one percent of the leisure travel in the United States happens behind the wheel of a personal vehicle,” says editor in chief Matthew Phenix. “Roadtrip is for those people - anybody who savors the journey as much as the destination. And this digital Preview Edition is just the beginning: 2011 will bring journeys and destinations all over the world - in our gorgeous iPad and desktop editions, iPhone apps with GPS functionality, and even a television show.”

Bonnier has been an industry leader with iPad editions of its magazines. Bonnier’s Popular Science+ was available for purchase when the iPad launched in April. Since then a number of Bonnier titles have launched on the iPad, but Roadtrip becomes the company’s first made-for-the-iPad magazine.

The publication is being created with existing staff and is meant to help the company learn how people discover content on the iPad, writes Mediaweek.

“We’re trying different things. We’re looking at doing photo-based, mini-publications, getting away from what a magazine is,” says Chris Tauber, brand director for Bonnier’s travel and lifestyle group. “We’ve found photos look really good on the iPad. With travel titles, we’re looking at doing just the horizontal [view]. Other titles, we’ll take those brands and see how best to reflect them on the iPad. I don’t think there’s one answer.

Bonnier joins News Corp, which is soon to launch a made-for-the-tablet newspaper called Daily, and Richard Branson’s tablet-only magazine, Project, which will feature international culture, entertainment, business, travel and design.

Another tablet-only venture comes from a former Newsweek president who has launched Nomad Editions, a group of magazines designed for handheld devices. The first Nomad edition is called Wide Screen and is about film. Real Eats, about sustainable food, and Wave Lines, about surfing, have also launched, and a dozen more are coming in 2011.

Tablet owners may not flinch at trying out the new form of content: 48% of tablet owners consider themselves early adopters. Still, tablets have penetrated just 4% of U.S. households, so tablet-only publications have a far smaller pool of potential users than their print counterparts. On the other hand, smartphones, which will be able to access some of the new publications, can be found in 25% of U.S. households, according to Nielsen.

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