Next Issue Media, a consortium formed by major magazine publishers to drive sales of digital magazines, is unveiling a long-awaited app for the iPad.
It includes a
digital newsstand selling single copies and subscriptions, as well as a premium “all you can read” model often been described as “Netflix for magazines.”
The Next Issue app, previously available only on Android devices with Honeycomb, gives iPad owners access to digital editions for an array of titles from Time Inc., Conde Nast, Hearst, Meredith and News Corp., which came together to form Next Issue in December 2009.
Currently, 39 titles are available, including Better Homes and Gardens, Bon Appétit, Elle, Fortune, Golf Digest,
GQ, Popular Mechanics, Time, Vogue and Wired, with more titles scheduled to come online by the end of the year.
Readers can buy an unlimited subscription to monthly and biweekly magazines for $9.99 per month, or a full unlimited subscription, including weekly titles, for $14.99 per month. Individual magazine subscriptions cost anywhere from $1.99-$9.99 per month, depending on the title and frequency. Single issues can be bought for anywhere from $2.49-$5.99 per issue.
Last month, the Online Publishers Association released the results of a study profiling the behaviors of tablet users, which included some positive findings for publishers and advertisers.
According to the OPA survey, 37% of tablet owners said ads delivered via
the device were “hard to ignore,” 33% called them “eye-catching,” 29% said they were “unique and interesting” and 28% thought they were “relevant.” 27%
said they were motivated to purchase a product by tablet advertising, and 26% were motivated by ads to research products.
Despite these positive factors, however, digital subscriptions appear to remain a relatively small part of the overall business for most magazine publishers, albeit one that is growing quickly.
For example, in March Hearst Magazines President David Carey said that Hearst has sold about 500,000 digital subscriptions across all its magazine properties, and expects to reach 1 million by the end of the year. Assuming an annual average subscription price of $19.99, that works out to digital revenues of about $20 million by the end of the year (before partners like Apple take their cut).
That’s about half a percent of Hearst’s total 2009 revenues of $3.9 billion. For its part, Conde Nast projects tablet subscription revenues of $15 million this year, also about half a percent of 2009 revenues of $2.6 billion.