Funny or Die, the online destination for countless viral celebrity comedy skits, has launched a new iPad magazine, The Occasional.
CEO Dick Glover describes the experimental interactive content app as “Mad Magazine meets Funny or Die meets iPad technology.” The app, now available from the iPad newsstand, will include original content, multimedia, and original interviews (including more original skits of the hit series, Between Two Ferns with Zach Galifianakis). The Occasional will expand FOD’s short video oeuvre, with an expanded array of magazine-inspired content. Like its 1980s predecessor, Mad, Glover the says the magazine will include interactive comedy, such as hidden surprises in the way pages are turned (in the same way that Mad Magazine‘s pictures revealed hidden jokes when pages were folded in on one another).
The bi-monthly app subscription costs $1.99 per issue, or $9.99 for an annual subscription, with free bonus material that Glover says may be added sporadically throughout the year.
Glover’s breakout online content production company has become a celebrity magnet, attracting major names from Justin Bieber to President Bill Clinton. Big names are eager sign up, Glover says, because it gives them a creative outlet to experiment “in an environment that is kind of risk free.”
“There’s no risk, because if it doesn’t work out,” he argues, “nobody cares–it was a little ol’ Internet video. However, if it’s a terrific video, then all of a sudden everyone is talking about it.”
With expanding fame, comes more opportunity for specialized content, including the recent viral videos of Mike Myers and Kevin Kline in a pre-Oscars skit, “Oscar Etiquette”. The wild popularity of the iPad, says Glover, is just a natural extension of its foray into finding new viewers.
Launching an iPad magazine is no easy task, however, as demonstrated by the hit and mostly miss success rate of the apps created by media outlets. News Corp’s The Daily, cost an estimated $30 million to produce and has only scraped together roughly 100,000 subscribers (paying 99 cents a week or $39.99 a year–at most, $5.2 million a year in total revenue). Wired had similar luck, with 100,000 downloads of its app in the first month, but the momentum didn’t carry as downloads dropped by roughly a third in subsequent months. The still lagging adoption rates of magazine apps hasn’t stopped media companies from embracing the future, with Cosmopolitan, GQ, and Fast Company jumping in with their own versions. (Shameless plug: Get yours today here!)