"The YUDU team were great at giving us the initial support we needed to start publishing to an app."
- The Salvation Army
The Salvation Army in the UK has been successfully publishing three weekly newspapers since the 1880s. The War Cry is an evangelical newspaper made available to the general public. Salvationist is the in-house publication for everyone connected with The Salvation Army. Kids Alive! is the UK only Christian children’s comic. Formerly known as The Young Soldier, it is on sale to the general public, as well as in use in Sunday schools and children’s clubs.
After the launch of the iPad, the team behind The War Cry, Salvationist and Kids Alive! realised that their younger readers had phones and tablets glued to their hands, and that the a strategic way to grow their readership would be to start publishing straight onto these devices.
With a well-established existing web presence, The Salvation Army decided to get ahead and became the first Christian evangelical church to publish their weekly newspapers in app format. As a widely recognised UK church and charity – and with a global presence in 136 countries – the organisation was confident that there would be a need for this. Encouraged by the CIO, Martyn Croft, to look at YUDU, the first app went live in November 2012 as a way to reach the digital generation with weekly news from the church.
Publishing three high-quality weekly newspapers is no mean feat. While developing the ideas around publishing to an app, The Salvation Army’s Editorial Department had to be very careful to maintain focus on its first line of business – print periodicals.
The Salvation Army has a knowledgeable and experienced editorial team, which needed to adapt their workflows and get their heads around the mechanisms of preparing and uploading pages to the YUDU Publisher publishing platform. YUDU staff supported the transition, and helped get the team up-to-speed quickly. Being able to publish digitally, starting with print replicas and without needing to build the pages out from scratch, was a huge advantage for the busy publishing team. However, they quickly became aware that to appeal to app readers, particularly the younger demographic, the content needed to be more engaging. Adding Rich Media was a solution to this.
The Salvation Army has been very creative in their use of rich media. The War Cry is topical, inspirational and instructional. The app version features an interactive puzzle for its weekly readers. The Salvation Army has shown that it can have the best of both worlds – a digital solution which is easy to deliver to a global readership, alongside a busy weekly print schedule for the UK market, both with features to engage and keep their readership loyal.
Part of the appeal of the digital version of Kids Alive! is the Bible story strip cartoon, which is delivered as a slideshow in the app. This enables a higher level of interaction with the readership and offers an element of added value to the print version.
Shortly after its launch, Kids Alive!, was ranked in second place in the children’s category on Newstand. Since then, readership has grown in the UK and internationally, specifically in China where hits are measured in the thousands.
Publishing with YUDU has enabled The Salvation Army in the UK to get its Christian message into countries where the printed version would either never reach or not be allowed.
The YUDU team have thoroughly enjoyed working with The Salvation Army on their migration to digital publishing, and look forward to developing the existing projects further.