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

Posted:
in iPad edited January 2014
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.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 81
    teonycteonyc Posts: 20member
    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.
  • Reply 2 of 81
    mstonemstone Posts: 11,510member
    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.
  • Reply 3 of 81
    prof. peabodyprof. peabody Posts: 2,860member
    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.
  • Reply 4 of 81
    damn_its_hotdamn_its_hot Posts: 1,193member
    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.
  • Reply 5 of 81
    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)
  • Reply 6 of 81
    radster360radster360 Posts: 544member
    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.
  • Reply 7 of 81
    mazda 3smazda 3s Posts: 1,607member
    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).
  • Reply 8 of 81
    christopher126christopher126 Posts: 4,365member
    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!
  • Reply 9 of 81
    benicebenice Posts: 382member
    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.
  • Reply 10 of 81
    gmcalpingmcalpin Posts: 266member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Prof. Peabody View Post


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



    50?60% of most magazines' page counts are ads. I think GQ's might be even higher than that.
  • Reply 11 of 81
    aaarrrggghaaarrrgggh Posts: 1,608member
    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!
  • Reply 12 of 81
    rainrain Posts: 538member
    Maybe most men don't want to tote around a pad in their murse.
  • Reply 13 of 81
    jeffdmjeffdm Posts: 12,951member
    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.
  • Reply 14 of 81
    aaarrrggghaaarrrgggh Posts: 1,608member
    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.
  • Reply 15 of 81
    spotonspoton Posts: 645member
    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.
  • Reply 16 of 81
    jccjcc Posts: 300member
    I wish they allowed print subscriptions to be converted to the iPad version. I would do that in a minute.
  • Reply 17 of 81
    christopher126christopher126 Posts: 4,365member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by gmcalpin View Post


    50?60% 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.
  • Reply 18 of 81
    winstwinst Posts: 26member
    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.
  • Reply 19 of 81
    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.
  • Reply 20 of 81
    christopher126christopher126 Posts: 4,365member
    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!
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