In September 2011, Once Magazine launched on the iPad, with the goal of publishing three photography projects each month. The intention was to bring the best of photography to iPad users while splitting revenues 50/50 with the published photographers – after Apple's 30 percent cut.
Now, as Once Magazine is on limited hiatus – publishing one report each month instead of three as it overhauls its architecture – Auto de Fe has launched with a similar business plan. This time, however, the app looks more like a magazine with its traditional design and layout.
In fact, the founders don't shy away from the qualification: Auto de Fe is a magazine, but it's a cross-platform magazine that publishes "compelling reportage and in-depth visual documentary projects from around the world", they say. "Auto de Fe is a unique magazine for the digital age and will be available as a fully interactive app on Apple, Android, Blackberry and Kindle devices, as well as online and in print. Our digital and print format will allow us to explore many mediums of communication and bring you some truly brilliant reportage."
Right now, the print version is just a project and will only be published in a limited edition, with some of the app's best features and stories.
Auto de Fe also plans to share its revenues with its photographers and writers. "We're not only passionate about creating a great magazine, but also a sustainable support and funding structure for storytellers," they say. "It's no secret that photojournalism and investigative reporting isn't exactly drowning in money, so one of the biggest challenges for us was working out how to monetise these amazing stories and share the wealth with those who created them."
So all revenues will be shared 50/50 with the photographers. But, the founders say, there are also plans to launch a photo shop, which will allow published photographers to sell prints of their images.
It remains to be seen whether Auto de Fe will be successful, and they are the first ones to admit they are taking risks. "In some ways we may have picked a challenging time to launch a new magazine," they write. "Many will tell you we're on the verge of, or already embroiled in, a global economic depression, and consumer confidence and levels of disposable income are at an all-time low. Also, the public seems to grow ever-more resentful of much of the increasingly powerful, yet seemingly irresponsible and unaccountable, corporate media."
But, they add, "at Auto de Fe, our inboxes are constantly overflowing with brilliant stories from all over the world. We're optimistic that photojournalism and independent reporting is not dead. We think, in fact, that this is the perfect time to launch a new magazine, especially one like Auto de Fe. We believe there is still demand for inquisitive journalism and in-depth visual storytelling, and now the technology is available to syndicate these stories to larger audiences."
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