After initial success, magazine purchases on Apple iPad decline

Posted:
in iPad edited January 2014
Sales of some major digital magazines on Apple's iPad have seen a sharp decline since their debut earlier this year, showing that many customers are not coming back for more.



The first iPad edition of Wired debuted in May and sold more than 100,000 copies in the next month. But according to high-end fashion magazine Women's Wear Daily, sales of the magazine's more recent iPad editions were significantly lower,with sales of 22,000 and 23,000 in October and November, respectively.



For Wired, the iPad sales are much less than the print editions in October and November, which amounted to 130,000. And iPad purchases have been made without the aid of automated subscriptions for publications on the App Store.



Sales figures for other magazines also saw downward trends after their respective debuts, as sales of Vanity Fair were at 8,700 in November, down from an average of 10,500 in August, September and October. Glamour also dropped 20 percent in October and another 20 percent in November, hitting 2,775 in the last month.



The figures also showed GQ's November edition with its lowest performance since April, when the iPad debuted. And Men's Health sold about 2,000 in September in October, down from its average sales of 2,800 in the spring. All of the figures were made available to the Audit Bureau of Circulations.



"Publishers are hopeful their December and January numbers will bump back up after more consumers get their hands on digital devices during the holidays," author John Koblin wrote. "Call it an early New Year's wish."



In November, Women's Wear Daily was among the first to report that News Corporation is working on a new tablet-only daily newspaper, dubbed the Daily, which will first be introduced on the iPad. Rumors have pegged a Jan. 17 launch for the publication, potentially alongside the introduction of recurring application subscriptions on the App Store.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 69
    The magazines are too expensive and the publishers are too greedy.

    They want it all... but they will lose it all.



    They need to offer yearly subscriptions are reasonable prices. I bet Apple's cut is much less than the cost of printing, shipping, distributing and selling the paper versions. Not to mention archiving or trashing the paper after reading them.



    Time will tell.
  • Reply 2 of 69
    mstonemstone Posts: 11,510member
    There is something very elegant about printing on high quality stock that gets lost on the digital version. I know I really enjoy the printed version more, plus, I get to pass it on when I'm finished with it.



    I love the smell of ink in the morning!
  • Reply 3 of 69
    They need to reduce the price.



    I subscribed to Sporting News and found that daily was a lot to read.
  • Reply 4 of 69
    rainrain Posts: 538member
    Apple has created an ecosystem that is extremely unfriendly to 'new' and 'revolutionary' ideas where the iPad and publications are concerned.

    People don't want old publications in digital form. They want new and fresh ideas. Like when the world wide web came out and people started creating websites. It was a new renaissance in publishing.



    Apple is completely missing the boat on this.



    If Apple created software (Pages?) that would allow anyone to created iPad publications - and a store that allowed independent publications to shine (like the app store), then you would see a resurgence in desktop publishing.

    1) there would be lots of bad publications - but a lot of new and innovative ideas as well that would rise to the top - let people decide what they want to read.

    2) there would be increased interest in iPad publications as people would want to explore (like they do apps)



    Let publishing companies pick their own advertisers. Trying to control all the content on a digital device is both futile and a completely ridiculous business plan.



    Treat the publishing industry like they do the app industry - and you will see similar success.

    Give publishers their own SDK and a vehicle to market it.
  • Reply 5 of 69
    addaboxaddabox Posts: 12,660member
    1-- Offer attractive subscription rates.



    2-- Make your "digital magazine" something other than huge image files.



    3-- Or just give up and let aggregators like Flip Book make your entire industry obsolete.
  • Reply 6 of 69
    rainrain Posts: 538member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Photosmike View Post


    They need to reduce the price.



    I subscribed to Sporting News and found that daily was a lot to read.



    Price won't make a difference.

    New and innovative publications to match a new and innovative digital device would.
  • Reply 7 of 69
    I think all of this will change when recurring subscriptions are supported in iOS. A lot of magazines sell subscriptions to people who would not have thought on to buy each specific issue. On iPad, the burden of remembering falls on the customer, and that hurts sales.



    I agree with a previous poster that making huge image files and calling it a digital publication is missing the point and an opportunity. Make use of the iPad, don't just dump your images into it. Genuine innovation often gets its just rewards.
  • Reply 8 of 69
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by rain View Post


    Treat the publishing industry like they do the app industry - and you will see similar success.

    Give publishers their own SDK and a vehicle to market it.



    Good thinking. I like it.



    Still, the publishing industry is huge and is struggling with digital media. Apple is trying to give them a way forward, as they did for the music industry. I don't think blowing up the existing music industry would have produced good results, so I don't necessarily see where creating another conduit for alt content is necessarily the answer for publishing.
  • Reply 9 of 69
    juandljuandl Posts: 228member
    Apple will also have to reduce their cut in the process.



    Magazines, will be a little different than Books. And will be a lot different than Apps.

    Those guys can survive with the 70% cut that they get.



    But, magazines will be different. They come out weekly. It is a constant thing. And it will

    take a little creativity to make them popular and attractive to keep buying.

    Sure newspapers continue selling, but not like they used to. And for some people, it is just

    the old feel of it that keeps it attractive.



    Also, the Publishers know that Apple makes their money in selling the Hardware.



    Apple should accept that as a reality also and give them a break.
  • Reply 10 of 69
    rainrain Posts: 538member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Jonamac View Post


    I think all of this will change when recurring subscriptions are supported in iOS. A lot of magazines sell subscriptions to people who would not have thought on to buy each specific issue. On iPad, the burden of remembering falls on the customer, and that hurts sales.



    I agree with a previous poster that making huge image files and calling it a digital publication is missing the point and an opportunity. Make use of the iPad, don't just dump your images into it. Genuine innovation often gets its just rewards.



    YouTube: Lets people create their own content and share it.

    Flickr: Lets people create their own content and share it.

    Facebook: Lets people create their own content and share it.

    Apple App store: Lets people create their own content and share it.

    World Wide Web: Lets people create their own content and share it.

    MySpace: Lets people create their own content and share it.

    eMail: Lets people create their own content and share it.

    the Mac: Lets people create their own content and share it.



    iPad: Only lets massive publishing titans re-hash their product with no control over their own advertising revenue stream



    Are you starting to see the pattern?
  • Reply 11 of 69
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by addabox View Post


    1-- Offer attractive subscription rates.



    2-- Make your "digital magazine" something other than huge image files.



    3-- Or just give up and let aggregators like Flip Book make your entire industry obsolete.



    I agree with these points.



    I downloaded Virgin's Project, but balked on the price of the first issue and removed the app from my iPad. They made Issue #1 free, so I looked at it. Some of it is innovative, far better than the glorified "big image" magazines that you'll find at Zinio and other iPad readers.



    Enough to get me to buy Issue #2? Probably not. It would probably need to come down to $0.99 an issue. Go ahead and give me ads, I'm already used to seeing those in deadtrees magazines.



    And Flipbook is indeed killing it.
  • Reply 12 of 69
    mknoppmknopp Posts: 257member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by rain View Post


    If Apple created software (Pages?) that would allow anyone to created iPad publications - and a store that allowed independent publications to shine (like the app store), then you would see a resurgence in desktop publishing.

    -[CUT]-

    Treat the publishing industry like they do the app industry - and you will see similar success.

    Give publishers their own SDK and a vehicle to market it.



    Um... They have done exactly what you state.



    Anyone can use the iOS SDK to create an iPad publication and then post it on the App Store, just like all of the magazines mentioned.



    Or are you stating that they need to make a digital store completely separate from the App Store, just for magazines? In that case, I would say to add a section to the iBookstore for magazines.



    I have to agree with several other posters. This seems to be a symptom of not having yearly subscriptions. After all, most people are not going to pay newsstand prices for every issue of a real world magazine, so why would they do it for a digital one? Therefore, this trend will be interesting to examine a few months after Apple introduces subscriptions.
  • Reply 13 of 69
    I use Zinio and get my subscriptions for the same price as the printed version, along with a digital duplicate of the printed magazine. Works for me. I think sometimes things that are simple are made unnecessarily complicated.
  • Reply 14 of 69
    freerangefreerange Posts: 1,585member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by rain View Post


    YouTube: Lets people create their own content and share it.

    Flickr: Lets people create their own content and share it.

    Facebook: Lets people create their own content and share it.

    Apple App store: Lets people create their own content and share it.

    World Wide Web: Lets people create their own content and share it.

    MySpace: Lets people create their own content and share it.

    eMail: Lets people create their own content and share it.

    the Mac: Lets people create their own content and share it.



    iPad: Only lets massive publishing titans re-hash their product with no control over their own advertising revenue stream



    Are you starting to see the pattern?



    Its their business model that's broken and they are afraid to fix it, or just don't get it.
  • Reply 15 of 69
    sockrolidsockrolid Posts: 2,788member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by rain View Post


    YouTube: Lets people create their own content and share it.

    Flickr: Lets people create their own content and share it.

    Facebook: Lets people create their own content and share it.

    Apple App store: Lets people create their own content and share it.

    World Wide Web: Lets people create their own content and share it.

    MySpace: Lets people create their own content and share it.

    eMail: Lets people create their own content and share it.

    the Mac: Lets people create their own content and share it.



    iPad: Only lets massive publishing titans re-hash their product with no control over their own advertising revenue stream



    Are you starting to see the pattern?



    You forgot a few things:



    YouTube: Built-in iPad app

    Flickr: Available on iPad

    Facebook: Available on iPad

    Apple App store: Built-in iPad app

    World Wide Web: Available on iPad

    MySpace: Available on iPad

    eMail: Built-in iPad app

    the Mac: Not available on iPad yet.



    iPad: the new computing paradigm.



    Are you starting to see the pattern?
  • Reply 16 of 69
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by rain View Post


    YouTube: Lets people create their own content and share it.

    Flickr: Lets people create their own content and share it.

    Facebook: Lets people create their own content and share it.

    Apple App store: Lets people create their own content and share it.

    World Wide Web: Lets people create their own content and share it.

    MySpace: Lets people create their own content and share it.

    eMail: Lets people create their own content and share it.

    the Mac: Lets people create their own content and share it.



    iPad: Only lets massive publishing titans re-hash their product with no control over their own advertising revenue stream



    Are you starting to see the pattern?



    Brilliant!
  • Reply 17 of 69
    One word: SUBSCRIPTION
  • Reply 18 of 69
    Like most things in America...it boils down to price, which has to be perceived as a bargain.



    Very few companies/brands targeting the mass market can lift themselves above this basic premise.



    Apple is one, WSJ comes to mind, Honda and Toyota also.





    Basically, most companies use the Walmart business model. Make a little profit and sell a lot of crap cheaply.
  • Reply 19 of 69
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by mstone View Post


    There is something very elegant about printing on high quality stock that gets lost on the digital version. I know I really enjoy the printed version more, plus, I get to pass it on when I'm finished with it.



    Hear hear!



    A lot of these magazines - eg Vanity Fair - are real keepers rather than the landfill of gossip mags and yesterday's newspapers.



    Digital editions just aren't keepable in the same way, they lack completely the feeling of 'treasure' that old magazines, comics etc can have.



    See Comment No15 here:

    http://gadgetwise.blogs.nytimes.com/...pper-required/



    "...about 6 years ago, I purchased an archive edition of the National Geographic that used closed proprietary software to present the magazine. The pages can't be opened or viewed on a modern computer now. If you're buying an archive like this, make sure that it uses tech that will be accessible in 10 or 20 years. HTML/CSS will. PDF probably will. Some weird proprietary software probably will not."
  • Reply 20 of 69
    sheffsheff Posts: 1,407member
    That's what bad initial implementation gets you. Print editions can be had for much cheaper, and App Store did not allow for those discounts on subscription basis. Hopefully once subscription model is implemented and prices somewhat match the print iPad sales can rebound.
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