Rolling Stone co-founder slams publishers for embracing Apple's iPad

Posted:
in iPad edited January 2014
Following a wave of magazines embracing Apple's in-app subscription plans, the co-founder of Rolling Stone has gone against the grain and categorized the industry's move as "sheer insanity and insecurity and fear."



Jann Wenner, owner of Wenner Media, said in an interview with Advertising Age that magazine publishers are "crazy" to embrace the iPad. He said current products available on Apple's tablet are selling just a few thousand copies, a revenue stream that's not enough to compensate for money lost in research in development.



"They're going to get less money for it from advertisers," he said. "Right now it costs a fortune to convert your magazine, to program it, to get all the things you have to do on there. And they're not selling."



Wenner believes it will take decades before magazines on tablet-style devices like the iPad will take off, noting that sales of physical CDs are still a popular form of music even as Apple's iTunes offers more convenience and flexibility.



"I think that they're prematurely rushing and showing a little confidence and faith in what they've really got, their real asset, which is the magazine itself, which is still a great commodity," he reportedly said. "It's a small additive; it's not the new business."







Wenner Media publishes Rolling Stone, as well as Us Weekly and Men's Journal. Wenner said that users can get copies of magazines through Zinio or their official websites.



He said he wouldn't be interested in brokering a deal with Apple, because the iPad maker would "mortgage [him] into the future on the basis of getting 2,000 copies sold a month." He said even a success story like Popular Science sold only 16,000 subscriptions, well less than its 1.2 million print subscriptions.



"Their story is simple," Wenner said of Apple. "They want to go knock off the weakest of the big guys and then use that as a lever. They were having no success with Time Inc., because they weren't going to give, so they went to Hearst. And really Hearst has just given then a couple of titles."



Early this month, it was revealed that Hearst Corp had reached a deal with Apple to begin providing content on the iPad via Apple's in-app subscription plan, in which Apple takes a 30 percent cut of all transactions. STarting in July, Esquire, Popular Mechanics, and O, The Oprah Magazine will be available with in-app subscriptions for $19.99 per year.



Around the same time, Time also reached a deal with Apple, but only to allow print subscribers free access to issues of their magazines on the iPad. The publisher's magazines, including Sports Illustrated, Time, and Fortune support subscriber authentication, but Time and other major publishers have not yet reached a deal for selling digital subscriptions for iPad editions of their magazines.



However, unlike Time, publishing giant Condé Nast did agree to allow subscriptions on the iPad through Apple's recurring in-app subscription service. The feature has been added to a number of its publications, including The New Yorker, Wired, Golf Digest, Glamour, Vanity Fair, Self, Allure, and GQ.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 156
    galbigalbi Posts: 968member
    Absolutely true.



    Remember the days when the dot-coms were threating to send ALL brick and mortars businesses the way of the dinosaur?



    Guess who is still standing?



    Brick and Mortar stores.



    The same analogy applies here.



    Books, no matter how much the e-books devicer makers, electronic makers and publishers like to boast, are here to stay.



    The same applies to magazines.



    Hundreds of years of acclimation to printed press will not vanquish in thin air in a matter of mear 10 years.



    The print is versatile, requires no energy, flexible (moldable), can go through storms and still survive, be somewhat water proof (after it dries), be used as a quick umbrella during rainy seasons, folded into paper airplanes, can make origamis, used as a paper football, etc etc.



    Paper FTW
  • Reply 2 of 156
    k2directork2director Posts: 194member
    I always thought it was insane for a magazine to give away 30% of its sales to Apple, simply for selling through the App Store.



    If I were the magazine industry, I would threaten to only support Android until Apple came up with a more reasonable fee.
  • Reply 3 of 156
    fast fred 1fast fred 1 Posts: 294member
    Following a wave of magazines embracing Apple's in-app subscription plans, the co-founder of Rolling Stone has gone against the grain and categorized the industry's move as "sheer insanity and insecurity and fear."



    This statement was originally painted on the co-founders cave wall in pictographs.
  • Reply 4 of 156
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Galbi View Post


    Books, no matter how much the e-books devicer makers, electronic makers and publishers like to boast, are here to stay.



    The same applies to magazines.



    Hundreds of years of acclimation to printed press will not vanquish in thin air in a matter of mear 10 years.



    Well yeah, of course physical media isn't going to go away anytime soon. But we're talking about having a digital version/app in addition to the printed press. Just like there is a market for e-books/consumers who prefer e-books, there will people who prefer the digital version/app.



    And yes, there will be an upfront cost, but eventually there's going to be some sort of automated process with no printing cost. So why not think ahead and take the jump?



    Quote:

    Paper FTW



    Seriously.......?!
  • Reply 5 of 156
    whozownwhozown Posts: 128member
    And I wonder how much hate mail Wenner got or is going to get for her blasphemous statements against the almighty Apple corp.
  • Reply 6 of 156
    chiachia Posts: 701member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by k2director View Post


    I always thought it was insane for a magazine to give away 30% of its sales to Apple, simply for selling through the App Store.



    If I were the magazine industry, I would threaten to only support Android until Apple came up with a more reasonable fee.



    Judging from the money developers are making from Android apps, 70% of something from the Apple app store is better than 90% of nothing from Android.
  • Reply 7 of 156
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by k2director View Post


    I always thought it was insane for a magazine to give away 30% of its sales to Apple, simply for selling through the App Store.



    If I were the magazine industry, I would threaten to only support Android until Apple came up with a more reasonable fee.



    The way I read the article, it was against all electronic readers, the conversion of the mag, the programming etc. The iPad is perhaps singled out because its already become somewhat of a generic term
  • Reply 8 of 156
    freshmakerfreshmaker Posts: 530member
    Wow, only 16k subscriptions for a well-read magazing like Popular Science. That is a surprisingly low number. Looks like it's going to be a bit before this really takes off. With Apple taking 30% off the top, I can totally see why.
  • Reply 9 of 156
    xsamplexxsamplex Posts: 214member
    Agree, why not port to Android - which will be the bigger market anyway - and wait for Apple to come to it's senses? Apple is ultimately a device manufacturer. They should try to restrain the impulse of also deciding what content should be available to whom, and at what price. Frankly I don't consider them ideal arbiters of free choice and expression.
  • Reply 10 of 156
    11thindian11thindian Posts: 181member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post


    Wenner believes it will take decades before magazines on tablet-style devices like the iPad will take off



    Decades...? BWAHAHAHAHAH!!!!
  • Reply 11 of 156
    solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Galbi View Post


    Books, no matter how much the e-books devicer makers, electronic makers and publishers like to boast, are here to stay.



    The same applies to magazines.



    Way to jump to extremes. :roll eyes:





    Quote:
    Originally Posted by k2director View Post


    I always thought it was insane for a magazine to give away 30% of its sales to Apple, simply for selling through the App Store.



    If I were the magazine industry, I would threaten to only support Android until Apple came up with a more reasonable fee.



    How much of a markup do stores put on printed material? Less than 30%? Do you also refer to publishers as giving away their sales when B&M stores mark up their printed items?
  • Reply 12 of 156
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Freshmaker View Post


    Wow, only 16k subscriptions for a well-read magazing like Popular Science. That is a surprisingly low number.



    Yes, but we also don't know how many of those 1.2 million print subscribers have iPads...
  • Reply 13 of 156
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Galbi View Post


    Absolutely true.



    Remember the days when the dot-coms were threating to send ALL brick and mortars businesses the way of the dinosaur?



    Guess who is still standing?



    Brick and Mortar stores.



    The same analogy applies here.



    Books, no matter how much the e-books devicer makers, electronic makers and publishers like to boast, are here to stay.



    The same applies to magazines.



    Hundreds of years of acclimation to printed press will not vanquish in thin air in a matter of mear 10 years.



    The print is versatile, requires no energy, flexible (moldable), can go through storms and still survive, be somewhat water proof (after it dries), be used as a quick umbrella during rainy seasons, folded into paper airplanes, can make origamis, used as a paper football, etc etc.



    Paper FTW



    Paper books, sure to stay for a long time, paper mags, whose content (apart from ads) is out of date so quickly, will gradually succumb more and more to e-tablets.



    As for embracing it, the time for this is not an instant, a day, or even a year. If some publishes did not start with the trend, then how would things ever change. A forest may not start with a single acorn, but it does start with a few
  • Reply 14 of 156
    rivertriprivertrip Posts: 117member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Whozown View Post


    And I wonder how much hate mail Wenner got or is going to get for her blasphemous statements against the almighty Apple corp.



    Your auto-response software needs a better database.
  • Reply 15 of 156
    alienzedalienzed Posts: 393member
    I don't get it, aren't all magazine's produced digitally and then printed? Isn't the iPad version simply the digital version before it gets printed? Other then some optimization, it seems to me that iPad editions would cost less to produce since the magazine is going get put together on computers anyway.
  • Reply 16 of 156
    object-xobject-x Posts: 42member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Galbi View Post


    Absolutely true.



    Remember the days when the dot-coms were threating to send ALL brick and mortars businesses the way of the dinosaur?



    Guess who is still standing?



    Brick and Mortar stores.



    The same analogy applies here.



    Books, no matter how much the e-books devicer makers, electronic makers and publishers like to boast, are here to stay.



    The same applies to magazines.



    Hundreds of years of acclimation to printed press will not vanquish in thin air in a matter of mear 10 years.



    The print is versatile, requires no energy, flexible (moldable), can go through storms and still survive, be somewhat water proof (after it dries), be used as a quick umbrella during rainy seasons, folded into paper airplanes, can make origamis, used as a paper football, etc etc.



    Paper FTW



    How many brick and mortar stores need to go out of business before you see what's happening? Where are the brick an mortar music stores? Netflix just killed Blockbuster, Borders just declared bankruptcy. Amazon just declared they sell more Ebooks than print. It's happening right now. I think Jann Wenner is insane if he thinks it's going to take decades.



    I suggest he go back and review his high school math and take a look at the exponential curve; the rate of technological change clearly fits this model. The problem with people who are stuck in the past is they think the rate of change is linear. This change is going to happen faster than most people realize. Less than a decade. Publishers who are investing in this technology now will have a distinct advantage over those who waited.
  • Reply 17 of 156
    magicjmagicj Posts: 406member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Freshmaker View Post


    Wow, only 16k subscriptions for a well-read magazing like Popular Science. That is a surprisingly low number.



    Not surprising to me. Before you can subscribe to Popular Science on the iPad, you've got to know Popular Science is on the iPad.



    I never knew it until I read this article, and I'm in the iBook Store and the books section of the App Store all the time.



    iBook Store doesn't even have a "magazine" category. Neither does App Store. You can search directly for "Popular Science", but unless you're thinking about "Popular Science", you're unlikely to stumble across it.
  • Reply 18 of 156
    bobborriesbobborries Posts: 151member
    The co-founder of Rolling Stone can't roll with he times and responds to change with "sheer insanity and insecurity and fear." What ever happened to the green goal of a paperless society that embraces trees?
  • Reply 19 of 156
    wigbywigby Posts: 692member
    wenner is absolutely right...until he is wrong.



    things have just begun moving along. did itunes sales overtake cds in the first year? no, it took several years but this will happen even more rapidly this time because the itunes ecosystem is more established with much more hardware support than it used to have.



    and what is wenner's example of brick and morter and cd sales? has he looked around lately to see store closings and mp3s overtaking cd sales?



    print media will always have some usefulness to someone but when the tables are turned and there are only 2000 printed subs out there compared to millions, people will ask "why did we ever need printed magazines? who still reads those?"
  • Reply 20 of 156
    maxmannmaxmann Posts: 85member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Freshmaker View Post


    Wow, only 16k subscriptions for a well-read magazing like Popular Science. That is a surprisingly low number. Looks like it's going to be a bit before this really takes off. With Apple taking 30% off the top, I can totally see why.



    the business model of the New Yorker is that if you have a subscription you can read it on the ipad. I love it! I can pick it up anytime and continue reading the magazine, downloading new issues, and keeping up on the move without carrying a magazine with me. My experience with Pop science was cool the first time.. but I think it was $5 an issue? it was too much to pay for a single issue with no subscription deal.. maybe that has improved. Also, the initial sales of the ipad were to early adopters, and people with disposable income. Popular science might take off later on when it has a subscription plan.. and the mass market owns a table device.



    After Playboy announced their plan, i had hoped that The Rolling Stone would do the same thing. i would pay $60 a year subscription to be able to read all the articles from years past via archive access for every issue. a little nostalgia goes a long ways with the rolling stone.. with fab interviews from years ago that would be fun to read again.. Reading on a tablet is here to stay.. it is just a matter of time and the market for reading will mostly be available on tablets as well as print. To be slow to adopt only means they are missing the future of an entrenched mode of media that is part of the future. Later on, I hope they will publish both in print and on tablet media.. I would rather have all my magazines in one device.. for me, that is the future..
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