A Magazine Buffet
By Gina Goodman
For some time now, publishers and news corporations have been faced with the challenge to serve as innovators within the print industry. Technology has taken over media, and most journalists know that something fresh needs to happen in order keep print afloat. The recent upswing in tablet use has been one promising solution—people are now able to subscribe, upload, and view their favorite magazine or newspaper on the go. But Next Issue Media feels it may have come up with a model that will change the way the magazine industry (and perhaps print as a whole) operates.
The company—a venture formed by five leading U.S. publishers that include Condé Nast, Hearst, Meredith Corp., News Corp., and Time Inc.—recently announced the launch of its Digital Newsstand, a new app that serves as a tablet newsstand for Android devices. Subscribers are offered access to top tier magazine titles across a range of plans, and for the first time users are able to virtually flip between multiple magazines with one subscription fee. It has recently been coined the “Netflix” for magazines.
“Some may make comparisons to similar consumer content subscription services that offer an ‘all you can eat’ product,” said Morgan Guenther, President and CEO of Next Issue Media. “In this case, we're offering an ‘all you can read’ service. We’ve created a consistent and enhanced reading experience – one that encourages discovery among the catalog.”
The idea for the service began when Next Issue worked with the publishers to come up with a model that would benefit the business but also benefit customers, said Guenther. Tablet devices are already being hailed as the future of print, so the company knew they wanted to come up with something beyond just the medium.
“The real value in the unlimited plans will come when customers reach beyond the titles they know they love, and begin to discover the great stories, photography and interactive features from across the catalog that they didn't know were there,” Guenther said.
With Next Issue, customers can either choose to purchase a single copy of a magazine, or subscribe to either the basic subscription package or the premium package. Currently, the service is only available to Android tablet users—those with iPads will have to wait until Next Issue gets on board with Apple, which is an issue Guenther is well aware of. He also acknowledged the plan to expand the current catalog offering.
“NIM’s goal is to provide the best reading experience for consumers, so we will be adding new magazines from our publishing partners as well as outside publishers, with 75 to 100 titles expected by year end,” he said.
While the company doesn’t share details regarding revenue and finances, Guenther said success for both the publishers and for Next Issue will depend partially on customer engagement.
“The tablet industry is in its infancy, so we see tremendous opportunities for growth,” he said. “The company will be profitable to the extent we can scale our subscriber base and provide a service that customers love.”
For a newly launched business model, he said, feedback has been positive thus far.
“This model is beginning to gain momentum across multiple categories,” Guenther added. “And we believe this is something customers will grow to expect.”