There were a number of magazine industry veterans on stage at the American Magazine Conference on Monday, but as far as the future of the business is
concerned, the most important presentation might have been given by a relative newbie: Morgan Guenther, CEO of Next Issue Media, the company created by a consortium of the five biggest publishers --
including Time Inc., Hearst Corp., Condé Nast, Meredith and News Corp. -- to push digital sales.
Three months after NIM launched its iPad app and one month after it more than doubled the number of titles available to 72, Guenther shared some promising data about the first wave of customers.
So far, NIM has 70,000 subscribers, including 25,000 who converted from
free trials. Sixty percent of the subscribers have chosen NIM’s “unlimited premium model,” which offers 72 titles in the catalog (including weekly titles) for $14.99 per month, while
40% chose unlimited basic, offering access to all monthly and biweekly titles for $9.99 per month. The premium plan skews male (60% male-40% female), while the basic plan is roughly 50%-50% between
While Guenther cautioned that it’s still early, the profile of the first subscribers is promising for publishers and advertisers: 82% have an annual household income over $75,000, and the subscribers have an average household income of $148,000. What’s more, they are heavily engaged with the content, with unlimited premium subscribers spending an average 90 minutes per week using the NIM app, and unlimited basic subscribers spending 70 minutes.
They are also new to magazines. In a sample of 5,600 new subscribers, NIM found that 3% were already active subscribers to the print version of the magazines, while 13% were expired subscribers, and 84% were new to the titles.
In fact, among those who were new to the
titles, 58% had never had a relationship with the publisher at all, while most of the remainder (who previously had a relationship with the publisher) had subscribed to other titles. Satisfaction
rates are also high: 93% of users surveyed said they are satisfied with NI, 91% of consider Next Issue to be a preferred app, and 93% said they are likely to continue subscribing.
Guenther noted that NIM’s growth to date has been entirely without the benefit of marketing or advertising, but that is about to change, with the first wave of consumer-targeted marketing due out this holiday season. Here Guenther outlined a diverse campaign, including gifting (“imagine giving your friend 72 magazines a month”) and a friends and family program to encourage sharing through free trials, as well as TV and digital media ad campaigns.
NIM has already entered into a co-marketing agreement with TiVo, featuring banner ads with pull down options, which targets early adopters.