Apple’s Newsstand was a hotly anticipated and welcome addition in October 2011 for many with the release of iOS5 – here we look at some of the reasons why a Niche publication may be better off outside that particular market place.
The basis for this argument is of course the well known marketing rule of thumb – if you are a Niche product you should use this to your advantage, your market is smaller but interested people will work harder to find you.
Newsstand requires that each application has a subscription model in place and that there is the capability for in-App purchasing – even where your publication is a free one. Readers are required to set up an iTunes account the reader must ‘purchase’ the free editions, this is entirely in Apple’s interest as if your content is free you probably do not want to irritate people with receipts with ‘nil’ on them.
Apple like this process as it builds the list of credit card details for them providing potential for purchases elsewhere in their stores which covers the full marketplace, Newsstand, iTunes, App Store and iBooks.
Newsstand requires an iOS5 based device, this requirement will not be a problem for new users so readers on iPhone 4S or the new iPad are all good – however there is a significant number of users out there who are using iOS4 and will not be upgrading to the latest iOS whether out of feat or near bricking their device or lack of interest. Users on older operating systems will only see an App in the App store. By the end of 2011 80% of iOS users were expected to be on iOS5 (really?…)
Newsstand requires that you must build an App which is Newsstand compatible and that you upload everything via the application which will sit ‘neatly’ inside the Newsstand folder on an iOS device, the publication icons are individually styled and come with badge notification for new content, but what if and there is a possibility here you do not want to compete in this market place?, if you’re a niche publication chances are that your target market will seek you out regardless and access your publication in other ways.
Newsstand is a competitive place to be the publishers on board invest heavily in high cost production the possibility for distraction is much higher so Niche publications may well be best sticking to a sole publication on their site with their own pay wall – remember Apple will take 30%* of the transaction for their services and that sure is a lot of extra sales margin to make up.
*may vary from location to location
Image is from the nice folks here.