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Publishing Joint Venture Promises Unlimited DigiMag Readership (and Ad Reach)

Published on April 05, 2012

So what exactly is the new Next Media Tablet Newsstand? “iTunes for magazines? Maybe Hulu for periodicals?” asks Neiman Journalism Lab's Ken Doctor.

It feels like it. Next Issue Media is a joint venture formed by five leading U.S.-based publishers – Conde Nast, Hearst, Meredith, News Corp. and Time Inc. Yesterday it announced the launch of its all-new tablet newsstand featuring top titles designed specifically for Android tablets. “No other offering delivers the combination of a catalog of top-tier titles, a choice of unlimited access plans, a consistent magazine reading experience and a commitment to interactive content,” the venture enthused in a release.

“In short, the Next Issue kiosk idea is transformative,” said Doctor, “though we’ll have to see how quickly customers take to its unknown brand.”

“It’s unclear what benefit Next Issue’s newsstand will bring [publishers], not to mention how heavily the offering will be promoted with consumers,” wrote Adweek, given Next Issue’s plans to rely heavily on word-of-mouth over advertising—surprising for a consortium of heavyweight publishers. And Adweek is skeptical about how an Android-only slate will hold up in the iPad-friendly digital publishing industry.

Still, the value proposition is there. At the heart of the offering: Customers have unlimited access to as many magazines in the Next Issue newsstand as they want, starting at just $9.99 per month. “Now they can easily access and discover more great stories, writing and photography within the entire breadth of the catalog,” and presumably, see that many more ads along with content.

Thus for $9.99, readers can reach a digital catalog including Better Homes and Gardens, ELLE, Esquire, Fortune, Glamour, Parents, People, Real Simple, Sports Illustrated, The New Yorker, TIME, Vanity Fair and more. There are 32 titles available now, and the catalog is expected to expand later this year. However, the company's focus on new titles will remain on quality and mass appeal, not quantity.

A Consistent Reading Experience
“No need to navigate separate apps for each magazine,” claims Next Issue Media. Now customers can browse, manage and read all their favorite titles from a single app in one consistent and easy way. For example, customers can quickly flip through an entire magazine using the animated carousel. Once they choose what to read, they navigate using the same simple, intuitive commands across all titles. They can also access an entire library of magazines in the cloud any time they are connected, while easily managing what they choose to store on their tablet.

Enhanced Digital Editions
All Next Issue magazines are custom-designed for the Android tablet experience, so include enhancements such as videos, bonus photography, interactive features and links to more information online.

"This is a game changer for customers," said Morgan Guenther, CEO of Next Issue Media. "We're bringing it all together. The most popular magazines, a great reading experience, interactive content and unlimited access to our entire catalog – with lots more to come."

Price Points

  • Unlimited Basic: Includes titles published monthly and bi-weekly for $9.99 per month
  • Unlimited Premium: Includes all titles in the catalog, including weeklies such as Entertainment Weekly, People, Sports Illustrated, The New Yorker, TIME for $14.99 per month
  • Individual magazine subscriptions range from $1.99 to $9.99 per month
  • Individual magazine issues are available from $2.49 to $5.99 per issue
  • 30-day free trials are available for all subscription plans and print subscribers can add digital editions of the same titles for free or a nominal cost.