This is a brand new digital magazine, especially formatted for the iPad, and available every month via Apple's Newsstand in iTunes.
I've always been intrigued by Newsstand apps and the magazine format and publication model seemed a perfect fit with my ScreenCastsOnline membership. Although ScreenCastsOnline has morphed into a successful business since it's inception in 2006, it's sometimes difficult to explain to people exactly what the service is.
For techies who are familiar with the whole concept of Podcasts and RSS, it's not difficult, but to most people it all seems a bit strange. Whenever I try to explain it in layman's terms, I inevitably end up explaining it using the analogy of a Magazine subscription. You buy a membership, and then new "issues" are delivered each week via iTunes.
Now I don't have to use the analogy, it exists as a magazine, and is delivered just like a magazine, automatically. Heck, it even looks like a physical magazine with a cover and everything!
Just to step back and set the scene, initially, when Newsstand was announced a couple of years ago, I was extremely excited.
The functionality was all there... New issues pushed out automatically when available, no manual downloads, purchase individual issues, monthly and annual subscriptions available… all perfect for ScreenCastsOnline content. The problem was that I wasn't a developer and all of the tools available to create the Newsstand applications were incredibly expensive. Not just expensive to buy, but some of them even attract extra charges when you publish a new issue of the magazine.
So I'd pushed the idea of a ScreenCastsOnline Monthly magazine to the back burner.
That was until about eight weeks ago when I heard of a new development being launched by Ed Dale called MagCast - an affordable solution for Newsstand magazine creation - at last.
I'd met Ed at Blogworld last year, where we both sat on a panel. He's the CEO of 30DC Inc. a leading company involved in web based marketing and education.
MagCast is a essentially a platform that enables the creation of Newsstand applications and magazines. Not only that, but Ed and his team also provides full training in the use of the platform via video tutorials. Currently, MagCast is in closed beta, but will be fully launched soon, and I'll explain more about the process when it's available.
As far as ScreenCastsOnline Monthly is concerned, the app and magazine have been approved by Apple and is now available from Newsstand. As of a few days ago, it reached the heady heights of the number 1 free app in the Computers & Internet category.
There's a free sampler issue available for download plus the first full issue. The full issue contains nearly 4 hours of streaming video content. I've also been fortunate enough to get some of my friends from the Mac community involved to contribute articles, reviews and hints to supplement the video content - such luminaries as David Sparks, Katie Floyd, Allison Sheridan, Tim Verpoorten, Wally Cherwinski and Jane Griffiths are all on board for the first issue.
ScreenCastsOnline Monthly will be available each month (naturally) and contain some of the previous months worth of ScreenCastsOnline tutorials for both Mac and iOS as well as new articles and other content.
Issues are be available for purchase individually, as well as monthly and annual subscriptions at a significant discount. I should point out that the subscriptions include a free months trial so you can subscribe to download both issues for free. You can always cancel your subscription before the end of the month's trial and it won't cost you a penny!
However, If you're a existing (or future) ScreenCastsOnline member, you receive a complimentary subscription to the monthly magazine whilst your membership is current.
The magazine is not intended to replace the full membership, that will carry on regardless, delivering two downloadable tutorials each week. The full membership also has additional benefits such as access to the members area on the website as well as full access to the entire ScreenCastsOnline archive of tutorials.
ScreenCastsOnline Monthly Magazine is really intended for those who may not want the full membership, but are happy to dip in and out of the magazine as it's published each month.
I've embedded a short 10 minute video below giving more information about the magazine.
I'll still be producing the standalone SCOtutor apps as well as the weekly tutorials and the monthly magazine.
I really hope you enjoy ScreenCastsOnline Monthly and take out a subscription, the initial reaction has been fantastic as can be borne out by these iTunes reviews.