NEWgame Brings the Magazine Experience to the Desktop

With today’s college-bound students applying for admission at up to a dozen schools, St. Mary’s College in Notre Dame, Indiana, turned to an interactive online video application from NEWgame Communications to set itself apart.

Vmag, a desktop video magazine that shows DVD-quality video clips alongside Web-like linking functionality, allows potential students to experience what the college has to offer before planning a visit to the school — a tool that some of St. Mary’s students have said was a key influencer in their choice of college to attend.

“It makes Saint Mary’s stand out from the other colleges because none of the others sent anything like that,” said St. Mary’s student Brittany Degres of Fort Wayne, Indiana. “It was a really helpful tool in influencing my decision to come here.”

The difference between Vmag and Web-based video applications is that Vmag delivers the same high-quality video over any bandwidth, even over a dial-up connection. The application operates in the background, which means that whenever the user is connected to the Internet, Vmag downloads parts of the next issue in pieces until it is fully loaded on the client machine.

Once it’s done, it notifies the user that a new issue is available, and the Vmag is viewed locally, so connection speed is never an issue. A five-minute video can usually be downloaded in 90 cumulative minutes on a dial-up connection, or in less than 5 minutes on a broadband connection.

Beyond education applications, NEWgame is targeting sports teams, travel and tourism, and non-profits, according to Kathleen Hessert, CEO of NEWgame Communications, which produces Vmag.

“Wherever there is a richness of the media where video is going to enhance the feeling. Whatever ideas jump off the page, those are the things that are most relevant to a Vmag,” she said.

The service could be offered as a free subscription for universities and other recruitment purposes; with video ads or product placement in editorial for a travel application; or as a paid subscription for a pro sports use, she said.

The application also has in-depth analytics, so senders can see which parts of the magazine a user downloaded and viewed, as well as how often and for how long.

The costs to produce and distribute the average Vmag run under $2, while the typical college “view book” — a photo-filled catalog most colleges will send to prospective students — can cost anywhere from $2.50 to $10 each, according to Hessert.

“People don’t read anymore, and kids in particular don’t read,” she said. “This gives them content in a 5- to 7-minute package that matches their attention span.”

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