Next Issue Media finally set to launch its digital newsstand for users of the Samsung Galaxy Tab
Although TNM’s official launch date was January 4, 2010, you’ll notice that there are actually posts going back to November of 2009. Many of these posts were early experiments, but some were the result of news that I felt was very important for the industry: the closing of Editor & Publisher (which has never really relaunched IMO), the announcement that the New York Times would go behind a paywall are two examples.
Another early post was in response to the announcement that five major magazine publishers, Condé Nast, Hearst, Meredith, News Corp., and Time Inc., had formed a digital consortium for the purposes of creating a storefront and to create new digital products using a common platform for the new mobile devices being introduced. (I think my dog and I were the only ones who read that early post.)
Well, here we are, almost a year and a half later, and the news that Next Issue Media is about to launch its digital storefront is, to be blunt, not very big news. The reason is simple: the tablet market did appear as predicted, but media companies reacted too slow, tried to impose a losing pricing structure on the new market being created, and ended up only looking more out-of-touch in the process.
Now that some publishers like Condé Nast are finally starting to offer iPad owners reasonable subscription prices one wonders whether a united digital storefront is really necessary.
Well, I would say that it might be, in fact, necessary.
The reason is that while Apple has been able to successfully create a workable ecosystem for its iOS devices, the Android market is still a mess for publishers – at least on the tablet side.
No wonder then that the announcement that the Next Issue storefront launch only involves the ability of Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.0 owners (who are on the Verizon network) will be involved in the launch. Those few tablet owners will be able to buy issues of Fitness, Popular Mechanics, The New Yorker, Time, Esquire, Parents, or Fortune.
These legacy titles will be read on one Android tablet, with a seven inch screen, that is running an old version of Android (Froyo).
Back in November of 2009 the announcement of a new digital consortium seemed like a peek into the future. Today it looks like the scene at the finish line of a marathon when the older folk come walking towards the finish line. It’s nice to see them make it finally to the finish line, but the real racers have long since passed by.
Nonetheless, we all know that eventually, eventually, eventually, Android tablets will be introduced that will be part of an important non-Apple part of the tablet market. Samsung, for instance, will be launching a Honeycomb driven ten-inch display model of its Galaxy Tab in early June – one that has a far better chance of being a hit than then smaller model currently available.