Thursday, December 30, 2010

iPad Not a Savior of Magazines - Digital Sales Continue to Fall

ReadWriteWeb via NY Times: "If publishers are looking to the iPad to help revive (or extend) magazine sales, recent figures released by the Audit Bureau of Circulation (ABC) aren't good news. While not all magazines that are available on the iPad release their digital single-issue sales to the ABC, those that do all show a significant year-end drop. WWD reports that Vanity Fair sold 8,700 digital editions of its November issue, down from an average of about 10,500 for the previous three months. Glamour sold 4,300 digital copies in September, but sales fell by 20% in October and then another 20% to 2,775 in November. GQ's November edition sold 11,000 copies, its worst sales figures since the iPad was released. ... "

My analysis: Most of the implementations just … suck. There’s little or no value added to the content. The technology is not leveraged to produce a truly enhanced publication. This is the trend. Half-assed efforts result in half-assed results ... and thus lousy consumer response.

Also, many of the magazines in question make all or most of their content available for free on the web. So, in the absence of significant enhancements to the iPad editions, why on earth would someone pay for content one can otherwise easily (and legally) access without charge? And do so right from the iPad, the same platform upon which the app runs.