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Magazine publishers form joint digital newsstand for tablet editions

Magazine publishers form joint digital newsstand for tablet editions

Next Issue Media, comprised of Hearst Corporation, Condé Nast, News Corporation, Meredith and Time Inc., just launched its digital magazine consortium which allows subscribers to pay a monthly flat rate for access to various top-selling magazines, The New York Times Media Decoder blog reported.

After downloading the Next Issue Media tablet app, users choose to pay either $9.99 for access to all monthly publications available on the app or $14.99 for all monthly and weekly publications, the article said.

According to the Next Issue Media website, current magazines available to users include Time, The New Yorker, Better Homes and Gardens, Esquire, People, Elle and Vanity Fair, among others.

Offering a flat rate payment could save readers a great deal of money on subsciptions, since many individual magazine apps range from $1.99 to $5.99 per single issue, Media Decoder said.

“Our mission is to provide not only publishers, but advertisers and technology partners alike, an easy and economical entry into the digital reading channel,” the website said. “The venture will develop standards for a new digital storefront and related technology to allow consumers to easily download and enjoy their favorite media content across a variety of digital devices including tablets, smartphones, and laptops.”

As we previously reported, digital magazine circulation rose from 1.46 million in 2010 to 3.29 million in 2011, according to a report released by the Audit Bureau of Circulations. With this increase in digital magazine readership, Next Issue Media’s joint magazine app could be positioned to increase magazine circulation even further by encouraging more user cross-over between publications, as it seems likely that many users who purchase subscriptions would be categorized as engaged readers. The cheap flat rate subscription price might also help to sway staunch print readers over to digital editions.

Marketers, too, might find the consortium conducive to advertising, though Next Issue Media was not clear what type of advertising would be available across all publications, Media Decoder said.

In an interview with Media Decoder, Next Issue Media Chief Executive Morgan Guenther said, “As the business achieves scale, we see a significant opportunity for premium, rich media ad buys across our title selections” and that the possibility of such advertising remains at least a year away.

At the moment, however, the app only supports Android 3.x (Honeycomb) and 4.x (Ice Cream Sandwich), running on Android 3.x and 4.x tablets seven inches or larger, according to the company website. Kindle Fire and iPad users cannot yet use the consortium, though Media Decoder reports that Next Issue Media will submit an iPad app to Apple for approval shortly, the iPad version should launch later this year, the article said.

Establishing an iPad app seems crucial to the success of the consortium, considering how well the iPad is fairing among magazine and newspaper consumers. As we previously reported, the top 100 best-selling apps in Apple’s Newsstand for iPad earn about $70,000 per day.

According to paidContent, the Next Issue Media app is cloud-based and requires an internet connection, though users can also download publications to read them offline later.

If the magazine consortium performs well among consumers, perhaps newspapers will consider a similar approach. If many of the top-selling digital newspapers were available in a single app, as opposed to the many individual newspaper apps that fill digital newsstands now, consumers might be more willing to pay for subscriptions to a variety of quality journalism in one place.

Sources: The New York Times Media Decoder, Next Issue Media, paidContent


Gianna Walton


2012-04-04 12:21

Shaping the Future of the News Publishing

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