Publishers should embrace choice in the tablet world


By Ranj Begley

First it was television shows, then it was stand-alone computer programmes and websites. The industry has largely managed to come to terms with each of these upheavals. Now, as the Audit Bureau of Circulation incorporates digital magazine sales for the first time, the industry has stepped into the tablet era, and it is adjusting quicker than ever before:

• Magazine apps

• Apple Newsstand

However, the latest ABC figures highlight the continued, relentless, double-digit decline of retail print sales, and tablet still only accounts for 2% of total magazine sales. The industry has taken the right steps, but it is still finding its feet in this new terrain:

• Even with digital editions incorporated, magazine sales are down 31.8% year-on-year

• Newsstand, once the shop front for digital magazines, is rapidly losing both magazines and visibility

Restriction is the problem here. Tablet users are used to accessing their content in the way they choose – they can buy music album by album or get all the music they want from a subscription product. In TV, viewers can watch any programme and episode they want, on demand.

By restricting themselves to stand-alone apps or eMags on Newsstand, the magazine industry is losing the increased level of flexibility and choice that the digital consumer has become accustomed to. The industry needs to adopt as many routes to market as it can, in order to reach the widest possible audience.

Readly’s own data, for instance, shows that 96 per cent of readers on our app have never read the publication before. By adding a new channel the publishers are expanding their subscriber base, not cannibalising it as you may expect.

The same principle has seen huge success in the television industry as production companies spread their content across broadcast channels, their own websites and third party apps such as Hulu and Netflix. It’s time for publishers to take the same step and put choice at the centre of their mobile strategy.

About the author

Ranj Begley the UK Managing Director at Readly.

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