Magazine App Publishing: Success Stories and Cautionary Tales

Can we learn any do’s and don’ts from legacy companies? Plus, where’s B2B magazine app publishing headed?

Magazine app publishing can be a volatile enterprise if you don’t have the right plan in place. Mequoda Members know that you can’t just throw a replica product up on Apple Newsstand and wait for the money to roll in. Each component of your strategy – from conception to execution – must be carefully considered.

Indeed, the Apple Newsstand itself is riddled with uncertainty these days. Though we still advocate for its implementation in your business model – because it’s cheap and comes with a significant built-in user base – there’s no question that other services have eclipsed it when it comes to getting the most out of your magazine app publishing.

That’s just one example of the industry’s shifting landscape. With our Digital Publishing Trends posts, we monitor and share the most recent news, lessons, and implications for multiplatform companies like yours. Today, we’re relaying relevant articles from Talking New Media, which casts its net on the latest legacy circulation data, app launches, and niche indicators.

Time Inc. Seeing Digital Increases Across the Board

After some stagnation, Time Inc.’s top four weekly titles are heading in the right digital direction, which is promising news for magazine app publishing. The driving factor seems to be Next Issue Media.

The “four weeklies managed to raise this to 2.14 percent with its latest publisher’s statement. This is still well below where many publishers would like to see their digital readership, but it does reflect nice growth. Both digital replica and digital single sales rose for Time Inc. In the latest group of statements, single copy sales of digital editions more than double, though they admittedly remains a small percentage of overall circulation (not even 1 percent),” writes D.B. Hebbard.

“For Time Inc., growth is expected through Next Issue Media’s service. Sales through NIM are reported as digital single copy sales, and if sales were to double again during the next year the numbers would start to become more substantial.


“If Time Inc.’s weeklies are showing some decent numbers of digital this time around, how are they doing compared to their competitors? That is hard to say as of today as many statements are still to be released.”

Hebbard reports, however, that Wenner Media’s US Weekly‘s single copy digital sales are up 582%, with circulation representing 4.7% of overall circulation and 6.3% of total sales. Meanwhile, though, digital replica circulation is down 25%.

The Highs and Lows of Magazine App Publishing for Hearst

On the other hand, Hearst’s top seven titles lost 100,000 in subscriptions, with Hebbard attributing the atrophy to three factors: poor subscription pricing strategy, apps with technical problems, and the occasional ineffectuality of the Apple Newsstand.

Still, Hearst’s total digital sales are up, and Hebbard says readers strongly recommend the publisher’s digital products when they’re working properly.

In These Times Launches Tablet App With Mag+

Political magazine In These Times is getting into the magazine app publishing business with one of our favorite software partners: Mag+. Hebbard calls the app “very much readable” and cites the product’s “easy navigation.”

How Are B2B Publishers Handling Digital Transitions?

Hebbard reports on Bite (a dental magazine), Vet Practice, Restaurants & Catering Australia, SBI Magazine, and Rendez vous en France as trade magazines trying to chart out a course. He takes a look at pricing, platform, design – definitely worth a read!

Do you have questions about magazine app publishing? Download our free Digital Magazine Publishing Handbook and contact us for a follow-up!

To read more tales of triumph and caution when it comes to magazine app publishing, visit Talking New Media.


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