Unlimited Digital Magazines

Unlimited Digital Magazines

Could Next Issue Media’s business model be the future for magazine publishers? It’s been called Netflix for magazines. From Wired (emphasis added): “This week, Next Issue Media released a new Android tablet newsstand for magazines from equity partners Condé Nast, Hearst, Meredith and Time Inc. According to NIM, an iPad version will be submitted to Apple’s App Store in roughly six weeks. For the first time, customers can subscribe to unlimited reading of as many as 32 titles from five different publishers through one app, with one user interface, at one price.

The idea seems very appealing for consumers. For either $10 a month or $15 a month (the extra five bucks adds weeklies such as the New Yorker, Newsweek, and Time), readers can have unlimited access to all of the magazines. The hope is that when consumers are offered a chance for unlimited access they will consume more digital media than they would when buying it piece by piece. It’s a big deal. Author Tim Carmody writes that instead of going after the “long tail” of niche publications or back catalog, this content deal is aimed directly at the “short head,” where you find big volume. “NIM’s first 35 titles, [CEO Morgan] Guenther says, already have a mostly print readership of 350 million, with $8 billion in ad revenue.” But more than eyeballs, the new digital model is aimed at capturing potential advertisers. Carmody writes:

“Right now, there’s no scale in digital magazines for advertising,” says Guenther. Currently, magazine titles sell their own ads for tablets, usually for all platforms (iPad, Android, Kindle, Nook, etc.), often bundled with print and/or web buys.

“With our platform, we have the capabiliity of showing cross-title engagement,” Guenther adds. “Instead of 18- to 34-year-old-males all going into individual apps, we can do group sales to reach that same guy over at Wired or Esquire, etc.”

I think the model shows great promise. It will be interesting to watch in the coming months and years.