Digital Newsstands proving unpopular

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digital magazineWhen La Monde magazine put Steve Jobs on the front of their magazine they hailed him as the Gutenberg of digital print it was predicted that his Apple iPad would save the newspaper and magazine publishing industry from sinking.

In its 9 month existence Apple has sold between 13 and 14 million iPads. This is impressive. However, they are failing to produce equally impressive sales within their digital newsstand.  iPad newsstand sales are dropping dramatically.

Wired’s  digitally published magazine is one such example of failing revenue figures. It dropped from selling 100,000 iPad copies to just 23,000 copies in November. And the likes of Vanity Fair, GQ, Men’s Health and Glamour magazines are continually descending rungs on the sales ladder.

The Wall Street Journal now reports that Google are in the process of creating a competitive digital newsstand for users of devices that run its Android software. The difference will be that Google are set to take a less than 30% cut that Apple demand and they will also offer publishers the one thing that Apple simply refuses to share;  the customer’s names and addresses. The opt-in subscriber data is the gold dust that publishers crave to target their consumers via marketing their products and services. Google has offered to share some personal data about their app buyers with the publishers.

So it is hard to pin point just who is to blame for the dramatic fall in iPad newsstand sales. Could it maybe be Apple’s tight demand on publisher agreement terms such as  their 30% revenue? Or is simply down to the fact that similar content is floating about free?

Apple did manage to make a profitable business by selling accessible, legitimate and reasonably priced music in today’s world of illegitimate, free and piracy music. So it does prove that people are willing to pay for easily accessible, reasonably priced and valuable content through iTunes.  So this is what needs to be done with publications. Valuable, decently priced and accessible content needs to be made available. I look forward to seeing just how Google will differentiate from Apple.

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By 3D Issue


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