The iPad is Promising to Save the Magazine Industry, But Can Anyone Afford to Build Content for It?
Late last week VIV Mag released its video demo of a new style magazine built with the iPad in mind. While the demo is impressive and visually stunning, I really question how feasible it will be for already struggling magazine publishers to invest the kind of time and money necessary to create this level of interactive content. Estimates on the cost of producing this issue are in the $100,000 range. This is for a single issue of a niche publication. How many publishers can really afford to bring out 12 issues per year at this cost, regardless of the extra readership that the iPad is promising to deliver?
With the iPad, there are many new opportunities for publishers to reach users with their digital editions. That is after some re-tooling as many of today’s digital edition technologies leverage Adobe Flash or Microsoft Silverlight for delivery of their content, neither of which the iPad supports. However, it doesn’t wipe the slate clean. The same challenges in the market still exist. Publishers have an oversupply of information, abundant ad space to sell, and intense competition for eyeballs. Plus Apple introduces some new revenue model issues with publishers too. If they add periodical sales to iTunes, then publishers will lose some of their most valuable data – subscriber information.