Pace of new Newsstand apps continues brisk, though international replica editions dominate new releases
Despite the fact that the Newsstand will soon morph into a standard folder, and declining subscription sales, publishers continue to release titles into Apple’s digital newsstand
The release of iOS 9 is probably about nine weeks away, and with it will come the new Apple News app and the end of the Newsstand as we have known it since its introduction in October of 2011. If the iOS 9 beta is a good indication of what will happen, the Newsstand folder will continue on, and all the apps currently inside your own device’s Newsstand folder will stay there. But the reader will now be able to move those apps outside the Newsstand folder, and the app’s icons will return to looking like all other app icons.
The emphasis for Apple, therefore, will move to its own aggregation app, Apple News. For those wondering what Michel Elings, formerly at TRVL and PRSS is up to, its the Apple News app (and likly the News Publisher format).
But Apple News is no substitute for digital editions because you playing in someone’s else playground, not your own – and although the Flipboard app is very popular, I know of no media brands that have been built thanks to the app. The same can be expected of Apple News (and likely Facebook’s Instant Articles).
It would also be a mistake to think, though, that the Newsstand has completely run out of steam. Sure, US publishers are seeing sales declines, but there still are plenty of new titles being introduced each month into the folder.
For example, since last year over 100 more titles have entered the Art & Photography category, with just under 500 titles now using the category. The Automotive category now 700 titles, also growing by more 100 titles.
The vast majority of new titles using the Newsstand have two things in common: they are from outside the US or UK, and are almost app replica editions.
As a result, US and UK readers have very little reason to look for new magazines to read, and finding them would be difficult, in any case, what with Apple’s iTunes search mechanism remaining less than world class. But readers in other countries are now seeing familiar titles finally appear in digital form. Unfortunately, few of the international app stores have country specific app promotions. The result is that the promoted apps are often from the US or UK, not local language publications.