Are Magazines Taking off on Tablets yet?
This has always been an interesting topic for me and after attending an event at the AOP earlier this month, thanks to +Paul Lomax ,I got talking to a few people about the space.Google Panda hit a lot of publishers hard
A large number have spent the last year going back into their content archives for the last 10 years (!) and deleting not only weak content but content that hasn't had a lot of engagement. That's a vast amount of work.
It's only now that they've gone back to try and work out how to create more engaging (read more expensive) content to start building back some of their rankings. Luckily, they all have strong brands in their favour to support this work.Tablets aren't big business for them yet
Most money is still made through advertising revenue through print editions, as any subscription revenue is done at virtually cost in order to get the eyeballs. On tablets like the iPad, they make a bit of cash from the subscription or ad-hoc issue purchase but make much less on the advertising side.
This is backed up by an article I read today "Who Killed the Magazine App?" http://www.adweek.com/news/press/who-killed-magazine-app-153253?page=1
While tablet sales are rising to 128m this year, and people love the experience of reading on them (count me in that group), it's just that they're not getting read enough as they compete with other activities on the devices such as browsing the web, facebook, and playing games.
It doesn't help that the Newsdesk app on iOS hides away the magazines from view which is why many seem to be switching to creating dedicated apps to release, and background auto-updating them with the new iOS7 functionality.
I'd also add that a lot of magazines have 200mb+ downloads because they are full of large video and animated ads / pages - I'm looking at you +Wired Magazine which are just plain annoying and add nothing to the experience. Some even make you sign up for their own service and software system - argh! I actually had one magazine called +All About History that has great content but requires me to zoom in on the text by pinching and then scrolling. WTF!Attention Span
I really do think it comes down to our level of attention these days and how we consume media. Mobiles are for snacking of quick articles and content so not suitable for a magazine style environment (not including Flipboard which is arguably just collated articles anyway), so it leaves tablets such as the iPad and Nexus. Here though, it still takes focus to make a conscious effort to go and check the magazine app (in newsdesk or directly) and download the latest edition and set aside valuable time to read through it all. If the content is poor or takes ages to load - I'll switch off.
In fact, the one I do try and read regularly is +The Week Magazine which is updated every week (no kidding!), with interesting curated content from around the web, and is optimised lovingly for the ipad and kept nice and simple. Quick to download and browse. Is there a solution?
I'm not sure yet. _Have I gathered all the right facts? Any insights from people in this sector?_
If i was to make a hypothesis and had to launch my own magazine tomorrow - I would start with:
* Adapting to the medium
- making it look great on the device
* Quick to download
and simple to browse and read
* Bring in more interactivity
that can be loaded if desired: embedded videos, interactive diagrams, links to related content that adds to the story - but completely optional which gets out of your way if you don't want to engage with these extra bits
* Take out all the ads
until I get a readership base that is really engaged - and then think about what the native ads could do better
* Make it short (say 20-30 pages max) with regular updates
What do you think? Along the right lines?