It was only a matter of time before magazine publishers began to make overtures toward iPad and now we have some definite plans by some large publishers. Wired Magazine demonstrated a version of their upcoming electronic magazine on stage at the TED conference last week and a hands-on video demo appears below. Huffington Post tells us that Interview magazine will also test some issues on iPad at the time of the device’s launch.
But overcoming the technology concerns is only the first hurdle. Actually, it’s still a hurdle.
You see, the iPad version of Wired has been produced as an Adobe AIR app to enable to be displayed on any device that has the Adobe AIR runtime environment installed. This would include netbooks and a variety of Android tablets. That said, we don’t even know if Apple will approve an instance of AIR on iPad since it constitutes a third-party framework. If they do, each instance will probably be sandboxed within each application which has the potential of making each magazine app huge.
How do we get paid? is the next big question. Apple can handle both the sale of individual issues and subscriptions using the in-app purchasing capabilities of the App Store and iPhone OS. But how much do they charge? There have been numerous reports – confirmed or not – that periodical publishers are wrestling with the cost of these digital editions. Regardless of the cost to the consumer, a major component of magazine publishing revenue is lost in this model.
Typically, this is a collection of data about both current and past subscribers that provides numerous benefits to the publisher. First is demographic data. By cross-referencing a subscriber’s name and mailing address with other available data, the publisher learns a great deal about their readers. This is great for helping them produce editorial content but more importantly, it lets advertisers know who they’re reaching.
The second lost benefit is direct mail revenue. Publishers rent their subscriber lists to third party marketers who want to reach this audience directly, usually through postal mail but increasingly through email offers.
In typical fashion, it’s reported that Apple refuses to share this subscriber data with publishers.
Sara Öhrvall, senior vice-president of research at Swedish publisher Bonnier, told the Financial Times, “It is absolutely crucial to keep the data. That’s something that our advertisers need. It is something that we need.”
Publishers also want to be able to reach out to their print subscribers in order to provide them with discounts or free access to the digital editions but without this subscriber data, they can’t. Ms.Öhrvall goes on to say that regardless of the device, “it’s a deal killer.”
That “deal killing” lack of subscriber data could open up the playing field for competing tablets to serve magazine publishers, but with what kind of distribution? What base of applications? What audience will they attract?
Once again, it appears that Apple may have the negotiating leverage. At least for now.
I’ll likely subscribe to Wired on iPad when – or if – it becomes available.
Do you plan to subscribe to digital magazines on iPad?
Related articles by Zemanta
- Introducing a New Digital Magazine Experience (blogs.adobe.com)
- Wired Magazine Demos its iPad App (mashable.com)
- Android tablets resurface at the Mobile World Congress (mobile.venturebeat.com)
- Wired iPad Edition: Best Magazine Tablet Demo Yet (gawker.com)
- Adobe AIR Arrives on Android (thenextweb.com)
- Take that, Apple: Wired AIR app looks good on a tablet (video) (digital.venturebeat.com)
No related posts.