Friday, September 25, 2015

The Atavist is Closing their Mobile App


The Atavist publishes a monthly magazine and has a self-publishing portal where tens of thousands of storytellers, from giant companies to small nonprofits create their own branded magazines every month. Today, Atavist has confirmed that they are ditching their mobile apps and focusing on web content.

Many people have not really heard of Atavist before, unless you have self-published long form articles.  The company has been around for over five years and they publish their own original content. Atavist juxtaposes various digital forms that lies in the space between long narrative magazine articles and traditional books and e-books — a bit like music singles in iTunes — Atavist presents stories longer and in more depth than typical magazines, less expensive and more dynamic than traditional books.

Today, the founders of Atavist have confirmed that they are abandoning app developed and instead focusing on the web.  “Five years ago, a native app seemed like the best way to design and showcase their stories. But since then, they say, "the web caught up." "Not only was there very little we could do in a native app that we couldn't do on the web, but the structures of the native app environment made it nearly impossible to design well for both," they write.

Atavist's decision to move away from a native app is consistent with what's happened to some other digital first upstarts that have tried to launch an iPad magazine or app. The aptly named The Magazine, an experiment on iOS, folded. Circa, a news app on Android and iOS, shut down earlier this year. The Daily, an iPad-only magazine created by News Corp, didn't last two years. Apple itself shuttered its Newsstand app with the advent of iOS 9, and petitioned all of their former Newsstand publishers to gravitate towards the new platform.

Nowadays stories are shared via social media and can gain some heavy traction when featured on Hackernews or Reditt. The Atavist found having a reliance on apps made it impossible for their stories to gain any meaningful traction. Now that they are focusing on the web, things hopefully will improve for them.

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