Without Magazine Subscription Model, Magazine iPad App Sales Drop

Digital sales dropped for every magazine that provides subscription data to the American Bureau of Circulation, reports WWD’s MemoPad.

Wired never again came close to its 100,000-sale first edition, and now appears to be leveling out around 22,000. Glamour app sales dropped 20 percent from September to October and another 20 from October to November. Vanity Fair sales dropped significantly in November too.

WWD says publishers are hopeful holiday-gifted iPads will boost magazine app sales. We hope they are asking Steve Jobs very, very nicely to enable “push” subscriptions for the iTunes store. Push subscriptions would deliver magazine apps automatically (you know, like a real magazine), as opposed to making readers request, download, and pay for them individually. It could potentially facilitate print-digital bundling, too, which would appease the print subscribers publishers are alienating by making them beg for the iPad version. 

Newsweek made their digital subscription work by giving the app out for free but charging for in-app content subscriptions. They pay Apple 30 percent of the revenue. The glossy print subscription model, which gives away print subs cheap to keep up circulation, and therefore ad rates, probably can’t sustain that kind of pay cut.

The push subscription is rumored to be ready for NewsCorp.’s iPad-only paper, but there’s no word on whether it would be available to all publishers.

kstoeffel@gmail.com :: @kstoeffel

Without Magazine Subscription Model, Magazine iPad App Sales Drop