A Netflix for Magazines
Remember Next Issue Media, the “Hulu for Digital Magazines” consortium made up of the biggest names in publishing? It has finally delivered something worth talking about: Call it Netflix for Magazines.
The pitch is simple and intuitive: All the magazines you want, delivered digitally to your tablet, for a flat fee of either $10 or $15 a month.
There are catches, of course, and we’ll get to them in a minute. But the thrust of what NIM and its publishers are trying to do here is heartening, because it shows that they’re willing to experiment, for real.
They’re keeping their core business model — curated bundles of content sponsored primarily by advertising. But they’re making a key concession by not requiring consumers to make a commitment to any particular title and letting them swap out magazines at will.
Not a coincidence: Two years after the iPad launched, consumers have only shown a mild interest in tablet magazines — digital represents just 1 percent of the industry’s circulation. Publishers need to do something.
The app is currently Android only and the magazines offered a limited to an assortment (not all) of titles by publishers in the Next Media venture: Hearst, Meredith, Conde Nast and Time Inc.
Ken Doctor weighs in at Nieman Lab:
So what is it? iTunes for magazines? Maybe Hulu for periodicals? How about Piano Media for American titles? Tivo for print?
In the hurly-burly of digital content innovation and monetization, it’s hard to figure out what things are, so we try to find apt comparisons. With the new Next Issue digital newsstand, let’s think Netflix or Pandora or Spotify as the closest cousins. Next Issue, the offspring of five prosperous parents (Time Inc., Conde Nast, Hearst, Meredith, and News Corp.), launched last night what I think will be a model-changing product for publishers.