Mag Bag: Tablets, Digital Editions Booming
Tablets, Digital Editions Booming
On the new frontier of the magazine industry: Amazon debuted a new tablet computer to compete with Apple, while Hearst reported strong circulation growth for its digital editions, among other digital-related news.
On the tablet front, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos unveiled the new Kindle Fire, a full-color touchscreen tablet computer that costs $199, making it significantly cheaper than Apple's iPad, which retails for $499 or more, depending on options.
Amazon has explicitly positioned the Kindle Fire as a low-cost competitor to the iPad, prompting talk of a tablet price war, or at least a cost cut by Apple on future versions of the iPad. The Amazon Kindle Fire is well-suited to a variety of activities, including watching movies and TV, listening to music, Web browsing, gaming, and -- last but not least -- reading digital magazines.
The new device, scheduled to go on sale November 15, is being sold with free, three-month trial subscriptions to digital versions of Conde Nast magazines, such as GQ and Vanity Fair. Meanwhile, Hearst Corp. has good news in the digital arena: Total paid distribution for Hearst magazines across a variety of platforms has already exceeded 300,000, including digital editions of Elle Esquire and Marie Claire sold via iTunes, the Zinio Newsstand, and Barnes & Noble's Nook Color. That's a tenfold jump over this time last year.
Finally, a new survey of 1,500 digital media users in the U.S. and U.K. by FTI Consulting found that 38.4% said they have read digital magazines. While that's less than half, it's still a substantial number, considering that most publishers only began producing digital versions of magazines fairly recently.
Younger adults (ages 18-35) are the heaviest users of digital magazine content. Tablet users are also digital magazine fans, with 45% saying they read one or more digital magazines, compared to 21% for those who don't own tablets.
Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Models Appear in Video Games
Fish where the fish are, goes the old adage, and some similar piece of wisdom surely exists for marketing cheesecake to young men. That's why Sports Illustrated has infiltrated two of its famous Swimsuit Edition models into the newest version of Electronic Arts' "Need for Speed," a popular driving video game, with 2011 SI Swimsuit cover model Irina Shayk and Swimsuit model Chrissy Teigen appearing as rival racers challenging the game's protagonist.
Virtual billboards also appear promoting SI throughout the game. To return the favor, the mag is promoting the game with a special offer that combines the game with a six-month subscription to SI and its various apps, as well as a DVD about the making of the game. The bundled game-subscription-app-DVD combo costs $49.95.
American Baby Unveils Targeted Print Editions
In a move to make print magazine editorial content more relevant, American Baby announced that it will begin delivering special, targeted editions to readers based on their stage of pregnancy or age of their child, starting with the magazine's October issue.
These special editions will carry a "Just for You" section with features and advice about dealing with pregnancy and newborn child-raising -- e.g., "Your Pregnant Body at 8 Months," "Your Baby at 2 Months," or articles about gender differences, breathing exercises, and so on.
The Week Raises Rate Base
Dennis Publishing's The Week will raise its rate base slightly in 2010, edging up 2.9% from 510,000 to 525,000, according to MIN Online. That marks another year of growth for the weekly news roundup, which has seen its rate base steadily increase from 300,000 in 2005.