Today is the Thanksgiving Day holiday in the U.S. so there will be no new posts. But here is the second part of the interview I conducted with Mag+'s Mike Haney at the ABM Executive Forum last month – in case you missed it.
Last week American Business Media (ABM) held its a Executive Forum, "Content Matters", which concerned ways publishers and marketers could maximize the use of their print and online content.
One of the newest associate members of ABM is Moving Media+, the Bonnier Corp. spinoff that produces the Mag+ digital publishing platform for touchscreen tablets. Speaking at the event was Mike Haney, U.S. director and a part of the original concept team.
I spoke with Haney about the origins of the Mag+ project and his move from executive editor of Popular Science magazine (part one), as well as the challenges of presenting the new digital platforms, and specifically Mag+, to B2B media executives (part two).
While the newspaper and consumer magazine industry has been fairly quick to exploit the new tablets by building natives apps, embracing Apple's Newsstand, or simply launching replica editions, the trade publishing industry has lagged behind – though there are some examples of B2B publications to be found in the U.S. version of Apple's App Store.
I asked Mike Haney, U.S. director at Mag+ about what he is hearing from B2B publishers as he begins to present his company's digital publishing solution to prospective customers, and how this is different from what he is hearing from the consumer publishing side.
"In the conversations I've had with some of the B2B publisher sits fundamentally different," Haney told me, "and that's been one of the really interesting things about spinning Mag+ out and going out to these markets."
"One of the things we've realized is that consumer is a small percentage of our business. It's the flashiest, its where you get the most notice because these are brands people know. But there is such a huge market out there in custom publishing, in B2B, in some of these other verticals. What's interesting about going out and talking to them, especially with my background as a consumer publishing guy…is learning about those different challenges," Haney said.
"So, on the B2B side, what I've learned talking to them is that everyone's reason for doing this (tablets) is different. For consumer publishers its revenue. At the end of the day, it's just revenue. Whether it is about getting consumers to pay for something in digital that they haven't before, whether it is about expanding the audience base, whether it is about getting experimental ad dollars in there, saving on the print run eventually, it's about revenue."
Of course, in B2B, where a large majority of publications do not charge for a subscription to the magazine, but are instead distributing only to "qualified" readers, the motivation to build new digital products is going to be different.
"When you move into this controlled circ environment – it's not that it's not about revenue, everyone wants to make money – but the way their going to do that's different. There not going out there looking for 100,000 new readers necessarily," Haney said.
I confirmed with Haney his own understanding of the rules Apple currently have as they relate to Newsstand, the new digital publications app that was introduced with the launch of iOS 5. For B2B publishers (and others) Newsstand may provide the kind of solution publishers have been asking for.
While the vast majority of subscribers to controlled circulation magazines will receive the publication for free – assuming they "qualify" – non-qualified readers, such as those outside the industry, can still purchase a subscription to the B2B magazine. Newsstand allows for this if the publisher sets up a subscription pricing level for their Newsstand compliant app within the App Store, but then allow current (or future qualified) subscribers to log into their accounts within the magazine app.
"They open up the app, there is an optional window that pops down that says 'my account' or 'sign-in'," Haney confirmed. "You sign-in and that pings the back-end subscription provider and goes "OK, Doug has has been a subscriber since 2010, he has access to all these back issues and the next 12 issues going forward' or whatever entitlements you want to set."
This means that B2B publishers need a system, either internally, or through a provider, that can provide this kind of subscription verification.