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OPLIN 4Cast #203: Can magazines and the iPad make it work?

Posted in 4cast

broken heartWhat looked like a perfect relationship a couple of months ago may have hit a rough patch. The iPad seemed then to be the device that was going to save the newspaper and magazine publishing industry and go hand-in-hand with it into a bright digital future. Now the partnership is starting to show some strain. That doesn’t mean the relationship is over, but some folks are pointing out things the publishing industry and Apple will have to do differently if there’s going to be a happy marriage.

  • Pop goes the iPad bubble? (Brandweek/Brian Morrissey) “The iPad dreams of magazine publishers could be the latest death by irrational exuberance. Despite the optimism that greeted the new device, there is a danger that publishers are squandering an opportunity with clunky apps, bad pricing strategies and unsustainable ad tactics.”
  • My iPad magazine stand (Subtraction/Khoi Vinh) “In my personal opinion, Adobe is doing a tremendous disservice to the publishing industry by encouraging these ineptly literal translations of print publications into iPad apps. They’ve fostered a preoccupation with the sort of monolithic, overbearing apps represented by The New Yorker, Wired and Popular Science. Meanwhile, what publishers should really be focusing on is clever, nimble, entertaining apps like EW’s Must List or Gourmet Live.”
  • iPad subscriptions made easy (ReadWriteWeb/Marshall Kirkpatrick) “For all their dreams of success in a medium that privileges big pictures, multi-media and a touch interface, publishers of periodical content have been frustrated by the lack of subscription sales options on Apple’s iPad. Urban Airship is a small startup that has begun to power iPad subscription to content for publishers including NewsWeek, the Atlantic and the National Basketball Association.”
  • Newsweek offers iPad app (New York Times/Joshua Brustein) “But publishers soon butted heads with Apple over the issue of subscriptions. Subscribers represent a steady revenue stream for publishers. But magazines also see their subscription rolls as a valuable source of information about their readership, which they use to attract advertisers and new readers. They would also like to be able to bundle print and digital subscriptions. Apple has been unwilling to provide publishers with information about who is buying their apps.”

Numbers Fact:
According to a survey of 5,000 tablet users released October 22 by Nielsen, 41% of iPad owners who download paid apps have downloaded magazines.