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Sail Racing Magazine asks sailors to pay for online content

by Marine Business-World.ccom on 13 Jan 2011
Sail Racing Magazine Sail Racing Magazine
Sail Racing Magazine, a new monthly publication targeted specifically at the worldwide sail racing community, has been launched by British sailing journalist Justin Chisholm. However, you won’t find this title on your local news stands as Sail Racing Magazine is a digital-only publication combining the very latest digital publishing technology with the global reach of the iTunes App Store as its distribution channel.

The first free full issue of Sail Racing Magazine on the iTunes App Store and downloads from iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch users are already topping six hundred per week. A browser-based version is also available for those readers wishing to read it on PC’s, Laptops and Macs.

With a successful launch and the free January issue under his belt, Chisholm is now focused on the release of the February edition that will cost readers £3.99 to download or view online.

Chisholm has been planning his new venture for the past two years: 'I wanted to create something that would deliver content that is based around expert commentary and analysis of the sailboat racing world. People are used to getting instant sailing news from a plethora of sailing websites these days, but there are fewer and fewer places for racing sailors to read longer, more in-depth articles that really get to the heart of the topic in question. With traditional print magazines struggling to survive, it was the arrival of hardware like the iPhone and then the iPad that made Sail Racing Magazine a viable proposition.

When I saw major mainstream publications like The Times Newspaper, Wired Magazine and other big names investing in their own Apps, I knew the time was right to launch.'

Impressive line-up of contributors
Chisholm has recruited an impressive line-up of big-name sailing writers to his team of regular columnists. These include such luminaries as America’s Cup expert Bob Fisher, Olympic sailing correspondent Andy Rice, Olympic Coaches Morgan Reeser and Mark Rushall and professional sailor and media expert Mark Covell. Chisholm has also signed up Sailing Anarchy’s controversial Alan Block as Sail Racing Magazine’s US correspondent. 'It is a real privilege to have such a highly regarded team onboard so early. We also have several other major sailing journalists and professional sailors lined up to share their views and expertise in forthcoming issues,' comments Chisholm.

Beyond the quality of the writing, the new magazine’s interactive features are equally impressive, with embedded video and audio files as well as slick image slideshows. However, according to Chisholm, the main priority remains the quality of the content. 'The multimedia technology is cool for sure, but ultimately we will live or die based on how interesting our readers find Sail Racing Magazine’s writers and how excited they are by the image slideshows and videos.'

Enthusiastic response from advertisers
Chisholm says that the enthusiastic response from the advertiser community has been the biggest surprise. 'Our business plan didn’t feature any paying advertisers for the January issue but, after a few days of pitching the concept at METS in Amsterdam at the end of 2010, we were delighted to find that several companies liked the idea so much that they signed up on the spot.

According to Chisholm, what excites people so much is that Sail Racing Magazine genuinely offers advertisers something different to traditional print magazines. 'Firstly we can give them exposure to our fanatical sailboat racing readership community from across the world. Secondly, in Sail Racing Magazine their ads can trigger a variety of interactions with the reader, such as playing a product video or audio file, launching a product slideshow, initiating an instant email product enquiry or even taking the reader directly to a custom landing page on the advertiser’s own website.'

'The feedback we have received from readers who downloaded the January issue is that they appreciate the quality and exclusive nature of the content we are providing and are happy to pay a small fee to carry on receiving it. Our ultimate goal with Sail Racing Magazine is to see it recognised as the very best sailboat racing publication on the market.'

Time will tell.
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