July 11, 2013 Last Updated 8:39 am

Next Issue updates its iOS app, adds new magazine titles

Consumer Reports, Rolling Stone, Us Weekly, Field & Stream, Popular Photography, Popular Science, and Saveur added to catalog

An open question among magazine publishers continues to be whether the Netflix model as used by Next Issue will be the savior of the industry or its death. No matter, Condé Nast, Time and the others have let the cat out of the bag and now they will have to judge for themselves whether it was a good idea or not.

In the meantime, Next Issue continues add new magazine titles to their catalog – 93 now, while continuing to update their iPad app. (The Google Play app was last updated in April and still refers to Next Issue having “over 80” titles.)

NextIssue-splash-lgThe latest magazines to be added are Consumer Reports, Rolling Stone, Us Weekly, Field & Stream, Popular Photography, Popular Science, and Saveur (the premium titles remain People, Entertainment Weekly, Time, Golf World, Sports Illustrated, The New Yorker and New York magazine).

Managing magazine publishers must be like herding cats for Next Issue (to continue the cat metaphor). While some have publishers are more enthusiastic about tablet editions, others seem to be simply going through the motions. One title I always like to pay attention to is Bonnier’s Saveur. The magazine, when owned by World Publications, was always a bit of an outlier being based in NYC while the rest of the company was in Orlando (the magazine was launched by Meigher Communications in 1994). At Bonnier the magazine seems to be doing fine. But while titles like Popular Science have adopted native tablet editions, Saveur, despite its subject, has remained solely and exclusively about print.

Readers seem to love the idea of Next Issue and the vast majority of reader reviews are positive. But those that are not point to low resolution digital issues. (The other complaint is that the app forces you to already have a Next Issue account, something the company does to avoid giving Apple a cut of the sales.)

As a magazine publisher I’ve always thought Next Issue was what one launches to disrupt the magazine market and cut the legs out from under the publishing industry. It was inevitable that it happen, but that doesn’t mean publishers have to like it. But I’m sure they feel it was better that they do it to themselves rather than having Amazon or Apple or Google do it. We’ll see.

(Of course, the big sales point of Next Issue, which few observers talk about is that cheap distribution supports the rate base. Yes, they are getting only pennies per reader through Next Issue, but that circa level can be maintained, and without much cost. No surprise then that those magazines that seem to be doing best keeping or growing their print ad page levels are the same titles growing their digital circulation.)

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