Hearst: Millionth digital magazine sub in 2012

December 1, 2011

Honesty is an overly brutalized word that rarely delivers when it gets uttered, especially by corporate types. Thereupon, Heart Magazine’s president says that Apple’s subscription deal isn’t a bad deal and, when push comes to shove, selling his company’s digital publications on the App Store is “efficient.”

Eschew obfuscation! Or, to use another word, drop a syllable from efficient and just call it profit.

Reuters caught up with Hearst Magazines president David Carey at the Reuters Global Media Summit where he was gracious enough to provide the following soundbites:

      • “We do expect in 2012 at some point to be able to have more than a million on e-subscriptions.”
      — Hearst currently has 400K digital subscribers

      • “We feel if people want the content in multiple formats they should pay for it. At our price points [$12 ~ $15] we don’t feel compelled to offer another free product to the end user. We could always pivot back into it. We don’t want the word ‘free’ connected to content in this medium.”
      — Versus other publishers which give “free” digital versions to anyone that subs print

      • The Barnes & Noble Nook ‘commands the largest percentage of digital subs’
      — Hearst prices individual digital copies at $1.99

      • With tablet subs, Hearst keeps 65 percent versus 55 percent at the newsstand

      • More than 60 percent of iOS NewsStand subs volunteer their personal info
      — Publishers don’t get it automatically as they do with print subs

All of that said, it bears repeating that iOS 5’s NewsStand app led to a surge in digital subscriptions. So, in spite of all the publisher angst, things seem to be turning out rather well, especially if you’re magazine subscriber that values privacy.

“There was so much drama with Apple negotiations,” Carey said about the magazine industry. “[You would] expect someone to sell the movie rights from all that debate last spring.”

Perhaps all or some that (crap) will get aired in the upcoming Steve Jobs biopic based on Walter Isaacson’s biography…

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