With over 10,000 publications in the Newsstand, Apple seems little interested in store maintenance
Business, News & Politics and Sports & Leisure prove the most popular categories for magazine and newspaper publishers launching digital editions for the iPad
This website has been informally tracking the number of publications being launched into Apple’s App Store since the site’s own launch in 2010. With the introduction of the Newsstand, as well as the iPad, the focus changed a bit. Most newspapers and magazines – but definitely not all – have chosen to move or launch their tablet editions into the Newsstand and so tracking of that app (or folder, if you like) began.
As of March, there are over 10,000 newspapers and magazines now inside the Apple Newsstand, as judged by the U.S. App Store. There are far more magazines than newspapers, with magazines found in all the categories. Newspapers tend to use the News & Politics category, but a few can be found in other categories such as Regional News and Business.
The three most popular categories are Business, News & Politics and Sports & Leisure – with Business having the most tablet apps at 1,049 free apps and 13 paid. In fact, the paid app remains a rarity, with just over 200 apps choosing to charge for the app itself.
Here is the updated chart (click to enlarge):
Some categories have very few publications inside them, such as Brides & Weddings, History, Pets and Teens. The Teen category surprised me, as both the demographics of tablet uses, as well as the fact that teen magazines are plentiful on physical newsstand, made me think there would be more magazines to be found there. One explanation may be that both teens and children may be more attracted to apps than publications inside the Newsstand.
Of particular concern are the number of clearly fraudulent apps to be found inside some categories – Men’s Interest and Women’s Interest being the most popular categories with these apps. Many of the digital magazines in question are look-a-like digital editions that produce only one issue, yet attempt to sell annual subscriptions. Apple has known about the problem for a long time now, but chooses to do nothing about it. Other apps simply are clear violations of developer guidelines, pretending to sell one magazine title while actually offering soft core porn titles in their app libraries.
When looking at the Newsstand, both inside iTunes on a Mac, and through the store on an iPad, one sees that the app store team has stopped maintaining the categories. No promotional carousels are evident, and the “New” sections are just alphabetical listings of apps (meaning if you are thinking of launching a new digital magazine you might consider calling it Aaron’s Magazine, it will be forever front and center).
Over time the Newsstand has stopped looking like the digital equivalent of a physical newsstand, and more and more like a dumpster. It is long past time for Apple to decide whether this is the business they really want to be in. Or maybe Apple might consider outsourcing the Newsstand to a third party… say Amazon or Google.