Thirty eight percent of anything is a substantial number by anyone’s calculations and when the 38% you are talking about is the digital percentage of the total circulation of a single magazine then it makes you sit up and take notice, this is precisely what the figures recorded for Game Informer Magazine reflected during a recent survey, this 38% equates to a digital audience of over 3 million. Not bad for a magazine that started out 22 years ago as a free, 6 page newsletter. This raises the question are digital magazines, and iPad magazines in particular, shaping the future of magazines?
Game Informer’s associate publisher, Rob Borm says that, “While getting the same dependable and entertaining coverage of games as found in our print editions, our digital editions satisfy the techy side of a gamer’s appetite with embedded videos, animations and rich screen shot players.”
Other notable titles that contribute to the top ten in terms of circulation of digital editions include titles of the ilk of Reader’s Digest, Cosmopolitan, National Geographic and Men’s Health. Some would say that we are experiencing a Magazine Renaissance Via Digital Media in the present time, but it is still proving hard to put a finger on exactly why certain titles are flourishing and certain titles are not.
‘Inspiration and creativity will drive success’
An insightful article by Gregg Hano tackled this very subject in his article “Tablet Magazines Are Here To Stay: Premature Predictions and Lazy Publishers Are Not”, in his analysis he alludes to the correct use of interactive features and utilizing the ipad to its full potential, something that the vast majority of publishers have yet failed to do, Greg also points out that ‘Inspiration and creativity will drive success’ and that “Creative thinkers behind titles like Wired, New York Magazine and The Atlantic Weekly may or may not be profitable today, but they are laying the groundwork for how the whole industry is going to make money in 5-10 years.”
These are sentiments that we here at 3D Issue agree with wholeheartedly, it would be very easy to point out the negatives but if we did that many of our brightest points in history may never have come to fruition, as Greg alludes to himself it is akin to, “claiming your kid is not college material because he did not walk at nine months”. This same adage could be applied to many of the greatest inventions of our time; the same was said of the internet and the mobile phone, why do we need them it was asked?
A quick look around our world today and it is hard to fathom such a conversation ever taking place, but it did. Sometimes people can be too quick to distance themselves from new ideas, they get comfortable and human beings in general do not like change, they like routine. It is only after these routines are proven to be outdated, that the new ways are adopted whole scale. Digital media is no different in this regard.
The MPA aso released some facts and figures through their “Magazine Media” fact book which informs us of some informative and encouraging facts such as:
– More than half of digital magazine users read/reread back issues.
– 91% of adults in America read magazine media. 94% of adults under 35 and 96% of adults under 25 have read magazines in the past six months.
– By 2016, it’s predicted that 59% of U.S. Internet users will own a tablet.
– Print and digital readers take action as a result of in-mag ad exposure.
– Consumers are thoroughly engaged with magazine media across social networking platforms – most likely to be avid users, to feel positive about sharing information and to trust the opinion of an editor.
– The biggest benefit of a digital edition subscription was reported as having access to multiple issues in one device (61%).
– 80% of total respondents took some form of action after downloading the digital version of a magazine. This action was either visiting the magazine’s website, social media sites, or recommended the magazine to someone.
– The U.S. digital-only audience for magazine-branded apps has grown to 16.9 million.
– 64 million digital magazine issues were delivered in 2013.
– 10% of tablet owners read digital magazines almost every day. 13% of tablet users read digital magazines at least once per week. 17% of tablets users read digital magazines 1-3 times per month. 40% of tablet users read digital magazines once per month.
These figures, whilst encouraging, will not create innovative digital magazines by themselves, it is up to the publisher and related organizations to get creative and use the tools that are already there to inspire and produce publications that truly engage and enhance the experience of the consumer. They must create publications that are not simply digital recreations of their printed counterparts but truly interactive, data driven magazines that brim with rich media augmented pages and advertisements that will truly make them stand apart and in doing so inspire the future of the magazine, and the publishing industry itself.