Why periodicals will fail using iOS5 Newsstand!

Why periodicals will fail using iOS5 Newsstand!

Yesterday like most of the free world it seems I updated my iPad to iOS5. That’s a topic for another post, but overall I am quite pleased with the new features and cannot wait to receive my iPhone 4S in a few days and sync the two on iCloud!

One feature that really caught my eye was Newsstand! I thought, “This will be great!” Newspapers, magazines, etc. all waiting for me anytime I have a spare moment! Until I began downloading periodicals! These idiots want newsstand prices for digital content! Here is a Iist of the periodicals I downloaded that wanted at or near newsstand prices:

Guitar World, The New Yorker, Esquire, Popular Photography, Wired, Men’s Fitness, GQ.

First off, I’m not arguing for free content because I feel entitled to it. Nor do I believe the content needs or should necessarily be 100% free. However, it seems the magazine industry is attempting to recoup losses from a decade of ignoring the trend of people getting information online. Now with the ease of use and proliferation of iPads and smart phones they are a drowning industry! Here’s why…

I like Guitar World magazine! I regularly read the articles I’m interested in while in a book store. If the issue is exceptional, I’ll buy it. This amounts to 2-4 purchases per year at cover price. However, if their complete magazine content is available on my iPad, I would turn every page instead of just reading the one or two articles that catch my attention. Furthermore, I would be more inclined to read the editorials, news blurbs, etc. and YES PUBLISHERS AND ADVERTISERS, LOOK AT THE ADVERTISEMENTS!!! As of now, when I pick it up at the newsstand, I don’t have time to peruse advertisements and visit their websites.

I would spend more time in each issue if it were free via Newsstand, or the price was at minimum significantly discounted. And here is why it is moronic for prices to be at or near newsstand prices!

The reason magazines offer subscriptions at ‘half off’ of the newsstand rate is that it is guaranteed readership. They can tell their advertisers that they have X number of subscribers guaranteed to see their advertisement. People who pick them up and read them at the news stand don’t count to advertisers because those numbers can’t be quantified and accountants don’t like that! Most magazines on a newsstand stay their! When was the last time you went to buy a magazine and they were sold out? It doesn’t happen!

This makes it even dumber for them to charge me full newsstand price when I have essentially ‘subscribed’ to their magazine via the downloaded app in my iPad’s Newsstand. They have to be able to count those downloads as readership!

What’s more, while I am, somewhat, a reader of Guitar World… I virtually NEVER read or even pick up those other periodicals I mentioned. Maybe GQ whenever they have an interview with Jack Nicholson, Clint Eastwood, or Burt Reynolds… I never pick up Wired! I’ve never heard of Popular Photography, but with my iPhone 4S on the way and it’s camera capabilities, I thought I might read an article or two. But they wanted to charge me the equivalent of 3 large dark roast coffees at my coffee shop! Well, their content may be good, great, or awful, but I won’t know, I’ll look for free content on the web first. Their advertisers will never be viewed by me. I’ll end up viewing the advertisements for Penis Enlargement or cheap Cialis on a banner ad on someone’s blog which no one ever pays attention to.

The periodical industry for at least 50 years has made money, not off the newsstand price, but via advertisements based on subscription numbers. Cover price doesn’t cover the 70% of the issues left on the newsstand each month!

ATTENTION PERIODICALS: I will view more of your monthly content in Newsstand on iPad, but not at the prices you’re charging! However, with a free or perhaps a nominal fee ($.99?) I would be much more inclined to peruse your magazine that I virtually never even pick up with no intention of buying on an actual newsstand!

This is why your industry is failing. I’m helping you for FREE here with this info. I have just given you better marketing advice than your entire marketing departments have for over a decade. A nickel to a donut though you won’t act on it…

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