Conde Nast is experimenting with free editions of some magazines as a way of building traffic, according to the New York Post, which noted that the May issue of Wired is being made available for free with sponsorship from Adobe.
While it's not clear whether the tactic will be extended to other magazines, the newspaper reports that Conde Nast executives are mulling over the early experiences of Glamour, Vanity Fair and Golf Digest, among others, with apps -- perhaps with an eye to replicating the Wired-sponsored freebie.
It's worth noting that Wired sales for Apple's iPad fell off sharply after a strong launch last year -- despite the fact that it seemed a natural fit for the iPad audience, given its futuristic tech focus. From over 100,000 digital magazines for Wired's first digital iPad issue in June 2010, sales slumped to 31,000 digital copies in September, followed by 22,000 in October and 23,000 in November.
Similarly, Vanity Fair slumped from 10,500 digital magazines sold in August-October to 8,700 in November. In addition, Glamour slid from 4,301 copies in September to 2,775 in November. After averaging roughly 13,000 digital magazines sold from May-October, GQ slid to 11,000 in November. The most recent app sales figures for these magazines have not been made public by Conde Nast.
Publishers previously blamed this slump on Apple's failure to produce an effective mechanism for digital subscription sales for the iPad and other devices. Apple resolved the situation in February with a digital subscription model that also includes newspapers, video, music and other kinds of content.
The news that Conde Nast is considering more free, sponsored distribution came as GQ unveiled the 2.0 version of its app, which is available at a cost of $4.99 per issue.
RDA Buys Haven Home Media
The Reader's Digest Association has acquired Haven Home Media, an online vertical network for do-it-yourself home and shelter, which includes more than 60 Web sites with an audience of 15 million monthly unique visitors. It will be integrated with other RDA properties in the same vertical, including The Family Handyman and Fresh Home.
The acquisition doubles RDA's market share in the DIY home and shelter category to 24 million monthly unique visitors, for about 27% of the online home community space. RDA President and CEO Mary G. Berner stated: "Much like the way we've established a strong foothold in the food and entertaining space, where our core brands Allrecipes.com, Every Day with Rachael Ray and Taste of Home reach 96 million consumers, we have similar ambitions for the home and DIY category."
Carson To Launch
A new magazine designed by David Carson -- titled, appropriately enough, Carson -- is set to debut next month. Carson, who played a key role in the design of publications like Interview and Ray Gun, is presiding over a magazine that showcases distinctive journalism along with his iconic graphic design, vision, and artistry. The publisher promises that Carson will be "both thought-provoking and stimulating, while providing an artistic vision which separates it from any magazines past or current." On the editorial side the magazine is headed by Editor in Chief Alex Storch.
Meredith Hires Briggs Ferguson for MIM
Briggs Ferguson has been appointed to the newly created position of COO digital for Meredith Integrated Marketing, effective April 25. In this role Ferguson will be responsible for expanding MIM's digital agencies, including Genex, O'Grady Meyers, New Media Strategies, Big Communications and The Hyperfactory. His duties will include increasing brand awareness and customer loyalty, and aggressively growing the operations. Ferguson most recently served as president, Internet at Idearc in Dallas. Before that, he was CEO for Citysearch.