Thursday, January 26, 2012

About saving the magazine industry

Everybody wants to be digital today and most magazine executives today seems to be building iPad apps. Yet the user experience of a print magazine is unmatchable: they’re cheap, never out of battery charge, not a target for thieves and they have twice the screen space when spread as an iPad screen.

Analog version of Publishzer

The concept of magazines is great and without bringing it to the same level on digital, the executives are running a losing war. Lets consider the recent experience of one of my favorite magazines, The Economist. I subscribed to their iPad mag. First of all, the subscription takes me away from the app, to website with 2 options. €32 13 weeks and 125€ for 51 weeks. But I'd like to pay monthly as is the status quo on most of my subscription services. Sure I could pay per issue, but then there would be no auto-renew.

Granted, this is a small issue in the grand scale. But come on, take a que from something like Spotify, where I do not need to renew, they have my credit card info and its conveniently everywhere I go. That is a well done subscription service. Secondly, most successful magazine concepts in digital media are blog communities. No fees, no limits but high quality accessibility, funded by quality and relevant advertising.

I believe the key on saving the magazine industry is accessibility. Whether it is magazine subscription or advertising funded, the key is to provide seamless accessibility. Let me work a little at the beginning if needed, but aim to guide me to a state where I have the magazine when and where I want to, without forms to fill. This obviously needs security matters, but that I trust you've taken care, right? That is accessibility.

So remember that:
- Monthly fees appear lower than yearly fees
- Cancel anytime feature will enable easier testing
- Have auto-renew as default
- Advertising should be relevant and considered part of the content

If this is taken care, all you really need to focus is having great content.

Photo by: Teppo Hudson

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