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GQ magazine iPad sales start slow, but publisher has high hopes

post #1 of 82
Thread Starter 
An iPad edition of the magazine GQ sold just 365 copies on Apple's App Store -- but the magazine's publisher said the low sales are no cause for concern [updated with comment from Conde Nast].

Update: Publisher Conde Nast contacted AppleInsider Tuesday to point to a story from Peter Kafka at MediaMemo, in which it was revealed that GQ saw a spike in application sales when the iPad and iPad 3G were launched. However, the publisher did not give specific numbers, because they don't have an iPad-specific app. The application has sold 57,000 total copies since it debuted in December.

Pete Hunsinger, vice president and publisher of GQ, told Min Online that the December 2009 "Men of the Year" issue of the magazine earned $1,091.35 in total sales. But the publisher said the iPad edition costs his magazine nothing, and he believes that the sales will become more significant in the future.

"This costs us nothing extra, no printing or postage," he said. "Everything is profit, and I look forward to the time when iPad issue sales become a major component to our circulation."

In fact, Hunsinger expects sales to pick up quickly, starting with the upcoming June issue featuring model Miranda Kerr on the cover. He added that the iPad brings "added value to advertisers."

The GQ application on the App Store costs $2.99, and includes the current issue in the iPhone- and iPad-compatible software. Additional in-app purchases of other issues are available for $1.99 each. Those prices are lower than the $4.99 newsstand price.

Even before it was formally announced, publishers showed great interest in the iPad. Some in the print world have viewed the new device as a possible new revenue opportunity as the print business continues to struggle with declining readership and increasing cost of print.



At its official unveiling of iPhone OS 4 in April, Apple CEO Steve Jobs specifically mentioned Popular Science as "king of the hill" when it comes to iPad editions of magazines. Jobs described that application as a "breakthrough" in digital publishing.

The introduction of the iPad even prompted magazines to change the way they count their circulation numbers. In March, the Audit Bureau of Circulations altered its definition of a digital magazine to include the emerging class of tablet-style devices, including the iPad.
post #2 of 82
The problem is that most of the audience already reads the magazine -- either through subscription or newsstand sales. They have not created enough new content to drive readers onto the iPad, and the pricing doesn't make sense if you subscribe already. Also for fashion and lifestyle magazines (as opposed to news magazines), the experience of the large images page-in-hand cannot be replaced by the iPad. They need to create a new experience which leverages the unique aspects of the technology.
post #3 of 82
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

"This costs us nothing extra, no printing or postage," he said. "Everything is profit, and I look forward to the time when iPad issue sales become a major component to our circulation."

Just before the iPad we had a discussion about how these publications should be priced and some said producing the App version would cost a certain percentage compared to print. Now we know how the cost price structure works, at least for GQ. The programmer probably did it for free publicity.

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post #4 of 82
Quote:
Originally Posted by teonyc View Post

The problem is that most of the audience already reads the magazine -- either through subscription or newsstand sales. They have not created enough new content to drive readers onto the iPad, and the pricing doesn't make sense if you subscribe already. Also for fashion and lifestyle magazines (as opposed to news magazines), the experience of the large images page-in-hand cannot be replaced by the iPad. They need to create a new experience which leverages the unique aspects of the technology.

Agreed. Also the price is steep considering the market it sits in.

Does anyone know if the app includes *all* the content of the magazine? GQ is usually over a centimetre thick when I see it in the store. I'm thinking this app pretty much has to be a small subset of the real magazine. It's priced the same as a game that you might play over and over for years, but all you get is some text and pictures and then have to buy it all over again next month? And the month after that too?

It just doesn't seem like a good deal to me, but then I don't read GQ (or any magazines) anyway.
post #5 of 82
I don't know about anyone else but I have been hit by a bunch of adverts trying to get me to subscribe to GQ and other Conde Nast publications. They have a great opportunity (to really add to the content) with WIRED but I have not heard anything about it.
post #6 of 82
Sorry, but currently these guys don't know what they are doing. Selling single issues?

Get a model going guys!

One app, subscriptions.

Don't make me download more apps for each week! (TIME I'm looking at you)
post #7 of 82
I wonder how is the Time magazine doing their stuff on iPad. I believe they are following a similar model. Hate to say this - GQ might now be a good compare. Maybe Vogue or maybe PH or PB.
post #8 of 82
Seems like a pretty crappy model. I got a 2-year subscription to GQ magazine for around $9.99 from Amazon.com last year. Why the hell would I spend an additional $2.99, plus $1.99 per issue just to have the luxury of reading on my iPad where I can't even smell the sample cologne tabs?


There needs to be some kind of centralized magazine subscription service instead of everyone having their own separate app (among other things).
post #9 of 82
Quote:
Originally Posted by Matthew Yohe View Post

Sorry, but currently these guys don't know what they are doing. Selling single issues?

Get a model going guys!

One app, subscriptions.

Don't make me download more apps for each week! (TIME I'm looking at you)

Agreed! Where's the imagination for the new delivery method? Ride the wave!

Where's the 'Wow' factor?

Or let's just do the easiest thing and 'hope' we're successful.

There're only two questions to ask given this new opportunity for the 'dead tree' industry (I'm looking at you Time, as well!)

What would a stodgy company like GM do? Or, what would an inventive company like Apple do?

They chose the GM way!

What gets me is they seem to be happy about it!

Ps. Made a special trip to a Best Buy this weekend to see and hold the iPad...it truly is a 'magical' machine! Simple and wonderful!
post #10 of 82
Yep, I agree with the comment about one app to cover the magazine over time. Downloading for each month seems cumbersome and wasteful.

Some of the newspapers have got $5/month models for solid daily content all through a constant app, and to me it's much better value.

The other problem is that the ad-saturation that's so obvious with the major glossy magazines becomes even more obvious when you see it on screen and it's discouraging to readers.
post #11 of 82
Quote:
Originally Posted by Prof. Peabody View Post

GQ is usually over a centimetre thick when I see it in the store.

5060% of most magazines' page counts are ads. I think GQ's might be even higher than that.
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post #12 of 82
I have no desire to search through the app store for content that should plug into a common reader. It is a really stupid concept, and I wonder who thought it was a good idea. I appreciate branding issues, but without usability, you create such a big barrier to adoption!
post #13 of 82
Maybe most men don't want to tote around a pad in their murse.
post #14 of 82
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

"This costs us nothing extra, no printing or postage," he said. "Everything is profit, and I look forward to the time when iPad issue sales become a major component to our circulation."

What sort of investment do they have in the programming, and how much programmer time is required to make a new issue? Do they just have to drop a new PDF into the bundle and resubmit it?

Also, does that picture of Mr. Gyllenhaal have some kind of "bobble-head" effect going on? I see that too often with magazine pictures, I wish they'd quit doing that.
post #15 of 82
Quote:
Originally Posted by benice View Post

The other problem is that the ad-saturation that's so obvious with the major glossy magazines becomes even more obvious when you see it on screen and it's discouraging to readers.

I'll say! At this rate I am going to have to jailbreak to do a hosts file adblock, unless I can find a better solution.
post #16 of 82
For a e-reader the iPad is a expensive device.

Here's some adoption rates among computer users (PC and Mac) of similar Apple products.

iPod (various types except Touch) adoption rate: 36% price: $59 to $249 2 GB to 160 GB of storage

iPod Touch adoption rate: 9% price: $199 to $399 storage: 8 GB to 64 GB


Now the iPad

iPad price: $499 to $829 storage: 16 GB to 64 GB


So it's relatively easy to see that the higher the price is, and the less storage capacity, the less the adoption rate is.

It's not practical to put a hard drive into a device used for games, but the drastic costs for flash memory is certainly taking it's toll on the adoption rate for devices that use it.

This in turn has it's effects on those who purchase content for the iPad. I optimistically give the adoption rate for the iPad about 4-5% about a year from now.
post #17 of 82
I wish they allowed print subscriptions to be converted to the iPad version. I would do that in a minute.
post #18 of 82
Quote:
Originally Posted by gmcalpin View Post

5060% of most magazines' page counts are ads. I think GQ's might be even higher than that.

I agree...and a good portion of that is Hyundai's, Dockers, iZod and Chevy's!

Real 'Gentleman' stuff!

Seems a 'tired' magazine to me anyway.
post #19 of 82
I will buy it if

1, it is $1.99 per issue, but I can subscribe 12 issues for $9.99
2, it contains all pages from the paper version
3, I can sync the magazine between my iPad/iPhone.
post #20 of 82
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

A...the December 2009 "Men of the Year" issue of the magazine earned $1,091.35 in total sales....

One Thousand and ninety-one dollars in sales!! Surely that must be a typo.
post #21 of 82
Quote:
Originally Posted by winst View Post

I will buy it if

1, it is $1.99 per issue, but I can subscribe 12 issues for $9.99
2, it contains all pages from the paper version
3, I can sync the magazine between my iPad/iPhone.

Good ideas...when they fire their editor, you should apply!
post #22 of 82
A magazine in a store is an impulse buy... At $5 a pop you still go for it because a certain article catches your eye, or you start reading something and want to finish before you leave the checkout line. In the app store, you don't get that ability to "browse before buying". You may be able to see a few of the main articles, but little more. Combine that with the fact that a $5 one time read is listed in the same "store" as a $5 game or productivity app that provides reuse value, and the magazine loses it's luster.

Personally I can't remember the last time I just "picked up" a magazine at a store, outside of something to read on an airplane... If I like a magazine, I'll subscribe to it. For my subscription loyalty, one usually gets a reduced rate over the newsstand price. Why aren't online magazines being sold using a subscription model?
post #23 of 82
Quote:
Originally Posted by winst View Post

I will buy it if

1, it is $1.99 per issue, but I can subscribe 12 issues for $9.99
2, it contains all pages from the paper version
3, I can sync the magazine between my iPad/iPhone.

Yep, I think that's fair enough.

If the editorial content is good enough, it doesn't need lots of flashy extras, but a sensible way of pricing is a must.
post #24 of 82
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mazda 3s View Post

Seems like a pretty crappy model. I got a 2-year subscription to GQ magazine for around $9.99 from Amazon.com last year. Why the hell would I spend an additional $2.99, plus $1.99 per issue just to have the luxury of reading on my iPad where I can't even smell the sample cologne tabs?


There needs to be some kind of centralized magazine subscription service instead of everyone having their own separate app (among other things).

There is: Zinio
post #25 of 82
Quote:
Originally Posted by aaarrrgggh View Post

I'll say! At this rate I am going to have to jailbreak to do a hosts file adblock, unless I can find a better solution.

Some routers will allow you to block IP's, of course you would have batch resolve all Domain Names first.

Wonder if there is a app for that?

http://www.mvps.org/winhelp2002/hosts.txt
post #26 of 82
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bulky Cranium View Post

One Thousand and ninety-one dollars in sales!! Surely that must be a typo.

That is only for the single issue currently available on the iPad.
As of last week, 365 people using the iPad, purchased the December 2009 (5 month old)Men of the Year issue.
post #27 of 82
Quote:
Originally Posted by SpotOn View Post

For a e-reader the iPad is a expensive device.

Here's some adoption rates among computer users (PC and Mac) of similar Apple products.

iPod (various types except Touch) adoption rate: 36% price: $59 to $249 2 GB to 160 GB of storage

iPod Touch adoption rate: 9% price: $199 to $399 storage: 8 GB to 64 GB

Now the iPad

iPad price: $499 to $829 storage: 16 GB to 64 GB

16GB is actually plenty for eBooks, I recall eBooks tend to be less than a megabyte unless they're thousands of pages or loaded down with images. I have a 6 MB app that contains 25+ books. Even the Kindle DX doesn't have more than 4GB. The main reason a typical person might need for more is videos or a huge music library. The price is actually pretty decent for a mobile device with an IPS panel. I don't really know of any other hand held, phone, netbook or laptop with an IPS screen.
post #28 of 82
Like iBooks, why can't there be an iMag?

Re: GQ: Has the thought that the app sucks ever cross their mind?
post #29 of 82
GQ?!

Outside of a a few-block radius of midtown Manhattan's 5th Ave, does anyone read that stuff any more?
post #30 of 82
That number has to be way way up for the March and April issues. I didn't even consider digital magazines before the iPad and now I've got GQ and half a dozen Zinio subscriptions going. I couldn't imagine trying to read it on the iPhone and I refuse to buy any magazine charging $5 an issue.
post #31 of 82
Quote:
Originally Posted by anantksundaram View Post

GQ?!

Outside of a a few-block radius of midtown Manhattan's 5th Ave, does anyone read that stuff any more?


Good call sir!
post #32 of 82
Better to ask, where are they *all* at? There's such a dearth of magazines and newspapers (as apps or from iBooks) that I keep wondering if the publishing industry forgot *they* were ones pushing out the idea that the iPad was going to save them.

Condé Nast's magazines aren't really that bad as apps, on their own. At least they don't try to hammer the "look, it's the magazine in digital format!" that others insist should be the new paradigm.

But the pickings are slim, and many news apps feel rushed or not thought out. (Not to mention that if they want to "train" people to pay for access, they're committing the same mistake they did with free access to news in the first place.)
post #33 of 82
Quote:
Originally Posted by rain View Post

Maybe most men don't want to tote around a pad in their murse.

Aren't the men that read GQ supposed to be a little more manly, comfortable with who they are, and actually *not* scared of appearing gay?

Seriously, if you even think of stuff like this and are not a complete homophobe or over 75, you might have some problems with your own concept of manhood.
post #34 of 82
Quote:
Originally Posted by damn_its_hot View Post

i don't know about anyone else but i have been hit by a bunch of adverts trying to get me to subscribe to gq and other conde nast publications. They have a great opportunity (to really add to the content) with wired but i have not heard anything about it.

comes out next month
post #35 of 82
Quote:
Originally Posted by JCC View Post

I wish they allowed print subscriptions to be converted to the iPad version. I would do that in a minute.

I know Popular Science is combining their print and iPad subscription rreal SOON! At least that was what I was told when I emailed them. I bought one iPad issue but won't be purchasing again until the subscription is up and running.

Time Magazine also said that they will be doing subscriptions in the coming months. Don't know when exactly. Hopefully they'll combine their print subscription with their iPad subscription like PopSci is planning on doing. They used to sell one app for every single issues but they since created a single app where you can purchase in-app.

I believe Conde Nast is planning a subscription also but I guess they and the other publishers are playing which model will work. But based on user comments they might eventually just stick with a discounted subscription model just like the print versions.
post #36 of 82
Quote:
Originally Posted by gmcalpin View Post

5060% of most magazines' page counts are ads. I think GQ's might be even higher than that.

GQ's iPad app has way less ads than the print version. Only 4-5 ads... and they're not intrusive, annoying, and all over like the print version.
post #37 of 82
iPad is certainly a great device. There are multiple of problems going on here
  • Apple provided access to iPad quit late to the Publishers
  • The publishers are content providers and not App creators. I think they are missing the point here. They need to be educated a bit more on delivering content to this new type of device.
  • Publishers need to start thinking outside of the box. I think they have inhaled too much of paper dust.

The way out of this is that Apple needs to educated and guide some of the publisher is doing this right. If they don't, it will end up tarnishing Apple and this fine product. Remember, the publishers are also reviewer of the products and if they don't get a success, they are going to not fault on themselves, but will fault on Apple.
post #38 of 82
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris_CA View Post

That is only for the single issue currently available on the iPad.
As of last week, 365 people using the iPad, purchased the December 2009 (5 month old)Men of the Year issue.

Oops. That was me. I wanted an annual subscription
post #39 of 82
If they were smart they would work out a WIFI deal in the airports so that you could download the magazine before getting on the plane. You have a captive audience and you don't have to carry one more thing with you on the plane.
post #40 of 82
I think the iPad is so new and one of it's kind right now that publishers have no clue what to do as far as content and format on the iPad. Either that or they're just too lazy to do something different and are just content on converting their print editions to digital and just tweek it a little bit. But I think Wired's upcoming app might be the one magazine that all others will be measured against and hopefully the rest will follow.

I stopped reading (print) magazines a couple years ago but I started reading them again when I got the iPad. Although it's not much different than the paper version I find reading mags on the iPad far more convenient and a better experience not to mention far less annoying ads. It'll get better (for my wallet) with subscriptions coming soon and hopefully add more features like interactivity that takes advantage of the iPad's capabilities and eventually will distinguish itself apart from their paper counterparts.
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