The magazine publishing giant is staking its claim in the nascent new media space defined by the iPad with five magazine titles to be rolled out over the coming months. However, will anyone care?
Pulbisher Condé Nast will be rolling out five magazine titles — GQ, Vanity Fair, Wired, The New Yorker and Glamour — starting in April and continuing through the Summer with the men’s magazine to be the first out the door.
“They are representative of the company, right? GQ is men. Glamour is women. Vanity Fair is a dual audience,” said Thomas J. Wallace, editorial director, Condé Nast. “The New Yorker is unique with its periodicity, and therefore it’s also more news- or text-heavy, and it’s a slightly older audience.”
Nevertheless, Condé Nast isn’t going all in and while committed to rolling the first three titles while leaving wiggle room on when the latter two will be coming to market.
“We need to know a little bit more about what kind of a product we can make, how consumers will respond to it, what the distribution system will be,” said Wallace.
Of course, how many magazines and how fast they arrive is dependent on how successful the publisher’s efforts are and by that I mean money.
Ready to part with your money, data?
“We feel confident enough that consumers will want our content in this new format that we are committing the resources necessary to be there,” said Charles H. Townsend, president and chief executive, Condé Nast. “How large a revenue stream digitized content represents is an answer we hope to learn through this process.”
This push follows on the heals of Condé Nast’s success with GQ on the iPhone, which sold 7,000 and 15,000 copies of its GQ iPhone application in the months of December and January, respectively.
Likewise, the company is also seeking ways to collect demographic data — a bread a butter activity for print publishers — about readers on the new platform as Apple doesn’t share.
“There are opportunities within the application if you give the consumer a good reason to register,” said Sarah Chubb, president, Condé Nast Digital. “What we’re looking at right now is what kind of ad units for a phone and iPad would optimize the experience for a consumer.”
Taken altogether — delivering an appealing format and compelling content while deriving revenue and data — this is a very, very tall order to fill. Thereupon, one of the big problems here is that print has been in rapid retreat for a decade and readers have grown used to getting magazines essentially for free as publishers have scrambled to hold the line on subscription numbers.
Do iPad delivered magazines represent fundamentally new value and will anyone pay to get it? As a person who hasn’t read magazines in a serious way — we get several freebies that go unread — in years, I have my doubts…
What’s your take?