Friday, April 13, 2012

Taking Magazines Mobile - a first step

Post contributed by Nicholas Belitz -

Magazines ON-Demand
  There is a new way to read your favorite magazines. A new service was launched in the first week of April, this service is called Next Issue Media. There is a new app available to Android users running Honeycomb, the iPad version is still in the works according to tech news site Gizmodo. The app is free, but it requires a subscription that ranges from $10 t0 $15 depending on whether the readers want access to weekly magazines or just want monthly magazines. There are 35 titles available now including “Popular Mechanics” and “Car and Driver”. There are more titles that are expected to become available in the coming weeks. The subscription includes unlimited access to as many magazines as users want.
"You download the Next Issue Media reader once, and all the magazines will be presented there in single format," Morgan Guenther, CEO of Next Issue Media said. "We think we'll have a compelling proposition."
Source:  Major Publishing Consortium Ready to Launch "Hulu for Magazines," Gizmodo

BJB -  This is more than an app, but a new marketing strategy - instead of paying for individual issues or magazine subscriptions, subscribers would pay a monthly fee for access to a range of magazines offered by a number of different publishers.  The move from sales to bundled access is new to the magazine industry as well as magazine readers.  It's an interesting extension of the rights-locker / Cloud approach and coming at a time when print magazines are exploring their digital options.  Still, for now, the app is available only on one operating system, and it's not the one that dominates the tablet market - so it's potential as a transformative application seems limited at this point. 


  1. I don't know if this will be a success. In general, a single magazine subscription can cost between 3 and 5 bucks a month. As a sports fan, I love ESPN, Sporting News and Sports Illustrated magazines. If I were to subscribe to all of these it would be around the 15 dollar monthly price point this service is charging. On top of getting my sports fix I could then read on other interests I have essentially for free when compared to a physical subscription. The main problem is, I don't subscribe to the physical magazines, so why would I subscribe to this digital service? While the content in magazines is usually of a higher quality and is long-form, the internet is just too full of free content for this to grow significantly in my opinion. I think you'd have to keep it below the 10 dollar mark (Think Hulu and Netflix at 7.99).
    They'll have to bundle their bundle with something else for this to succeed I think. Either way, I do think this recent move to subscription based models is very interesting. We're moving into an age where we don't own media anymore, we are just paying for access. Once we stop paying, access is denied and we aren't left with any physical copies.

  2. I agree with Jamison in that I don't know how successful this approach will be.

    Consider this article in The Guardian

    Apps have been successful in reaching a bigger audience and is also "cost effective." Magazines have been able to "reach out to people who weren't buying their print magazines."

    With the rise of magazine and newspaper apps, print publications are also keeping design in mind. They want to design the print magazines and newspapers in a way that the design reflects well in the apps too.

    Like the article says, what has been successful is all based around the print model, but this approach with Next Issue is a disruption to that. I'm not sure how willing people will be to pay that much for Next Issue.

    -Clara Reed

  3. There is something extremely unappealing to the idea of using an app to view magazines. I would much rather pick up a hard copy of a magazine. I love the idea that with a hard copy, you can take it virtually anywhere-the bath, the pool, the subway. With an app version, you are using electronics and the ability to transport the device becomes harder. I would much rather shell out $3-$4 for a copy that I can physically hold. I am also concerned that with our dependence on looking at screens, our eyes are becoming increasingly worse. I will go to my grave believeing that print is a better medium.

  4. To a certain degree, this has been done before. It reminds me of the legal version of Napster, or whats going on with subscribing to newspapers via a kindle device.
    With that being said, I think it is a great idea. This provides an opportunity for magazines to make more money electronically. This is very similar to what Netflix does: charge a flat rate and give the customer many options. The trade-off for not having specific subscribers is that you gain many more total subscribers.
    I could also see them start packaging the magazines by genre, then offering one flat rate for all the magazines at an increased value.
    It is a great Marketing scheme, and for once seems like it benefits all parties involved.