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WGBH Creates Award-Winning iPad App with Adobe DPS, MEI Training
Industry-leading software and services help public-broadcasting powerhouse build first program-guide tablet app
WGBH is using Adobe DPS, the preeminent solution for Adobe InDesign®-based tablet publishing, to produce the iPad edition of Explore!, the organization’
Serving Boston and New England with seven television services and three radio stations, WGBH is also the Public Broadcasting Service’s single largest provider of television and Web content, as well as an NPR/PRI radio broadcaster and producer. It creates such public TV favorites as “Nova,” “Masterpiece,”
For years, WGBH has provided its members with a magazine featuring television and radio listings, broadcast highlights and more. In addition to delivering live, up-to-the minute schedule information for WGBH’s programming, the Explore! app builds on the print guide’s content with exclusive videos, interactive feature stories and behind-the-scenes extras.
The Explore! team began researching a tablet-publishing solution in late 2010. The print product and its online replication had only basic, flat layouts with few opportunities for interactivity, and the group was looking to expand, especially considering the wealth of PBS- and producer-provided promotional and marketing video at its disposal.
“We have always produced a great print guide, and we were ready to take the next step with our videos and other multimedia content,” said Steve Baker, senior director of creative projects at WGBH. “We had been looking for a new, innovative way to promote all of our assets. When the iPad came along, it seemed like a perfect platform.”
Baker said Adobe DPS was an especially attractive solution since Explore! magazine’s designers were already proficient with InDesign; using the same software with extra features for creating tablet content made the most sense.
“We looked at other tools, but I just wasn’t sold that they rendered issues as well as DPS and that they had a strong business backbone like Adobe,” he said. “Tablet publishing is such a new area, we really wanted to work with someone we could trust and count on.”
Baker and his designers started working with Adobe DPS during the software’s beta-testing period. They used the system to build a small test publication and, after honing the app’s layouts and interactive content, started showing it internally. Once they felt confident with Adobe DPS, WGBH approved funding for a larger-scale iPad project and purchased a full Enterprise-level system with an advanced training package from MEI.
“The training went very well,” Baker said. “It was interesting to see all of the software’s functionality work together beyond what we had tested on our own.”
WGBH released its first full issue of Explore! to the iTunes App Store in December 2011. This “soft launch” built on the print version by including video and dynamic program listings. The January 2012 issue boasts much more exclusive interactive content and specialized features including additional video, audio and photo galleries.
“People are very excited to use Explore! on their iPads,” Baker said. “Program guides haven’t changed much over the years. Our audience is happy that we’re adapting to the modern viewer’s needs.”
And the Explore! app isn’t only impressing WGBH’s members. It recently won the “Best Publication”
“I was glad, not only that we won, but that they were open to what must have been their first-ever iPad publication entry,” he said.
Explore! WGBH Member Guide is available now in the iTunes App Store. Visit http://itunes.apple.com/
About Adobe Digital Publishing Suite
The Adobe Digital Publishing Suite enables the creation of immersive reading experiences that combine the visual impact of print design, the flexibility of the tablet format, the immediacy of touch interaction and the engagement of interactive elements such as video, audio, animated infographics and more. Adobe DPS tightly integrates with Adobe Creative Suite®, empowering graphic artists to create highly designed, engaging digital publications that rise to new levels of interactivity. In conjunction with the Folio Producer tools in InDesign CS5.5, Adobe DPS provides a robust end-to-end publishing solution for creation, distribution, commercialization and analysis of high-value content, including traditional magazines and newspapers as well as corporate publications.
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Managing Editor Inc., an Adobe premier development partner, develops quality, proven publishing software. MEI specializes in providing tools that manage content for any output medium — print, online, tablets such as the iPad, mobile devices such as the iPhone and other digital formats. Solutions include the Page Director® Series of Advertising and Classified Layout Systems, vjoon K4™ Cross-Media Publishing Platform, Integrated Production Suite (IPS) and IPS AdTrac. Learn more at www.maned.com.