Friday, August 24, 2012

Next Issue Media updates its iPad app, prepares to add more magazines to its offerings

The digital newsstand app for Next Issue Media, the joint effort of Condé Nast, Hearst, Meredith, News Corporation and Time Inc., has been updated this morning as the new company prepares to expand its offerings with more magazines from Hearst and Meredith.

Previously called simply Next Issue, the app now the rather unwieldy new name Next Issue – all the magazines you love – unlimited access. One fears that soon the name of the app will be longer than the app description.

The update fixes some bugs, as well, which is good because I found the app to crash consistently for me. This may be because I recently cancelled my subscription to the service so as to not to get hit with the charge (sorry, I simply can't afford to buy every magazine and every service in the App Store).

Since canceling the app would no longer open for me. Deleting the app and reloading the newly updated version solved this issue. But, of course, without a subscription plan, the app is just a shell.

The digital magazine newsstand service is still priced at $9.99 per month for what is termed Unlimited Basic, and $14.99 per month for Unlimited Premium.

If you are unfamiliar with Next Issue Media then a short recap is in order: one signs up with the service on the Next Issue website – this avoids the in-app purchase system of Apple. The reader then can download any magazine they want that is being offered with the exception of Entertainment Weekly, People, Sports Illustrated, The New Yorker or Time, which only come with the premium service.

The digital magazines inside the Next Issue service are only as good as the publishers make them, of course, though since the service is comprised of major publishers the reader generally gets a decent digital edition.

The new update prepares the app for the addition of some 30 new more titles. These are Cosmopolitan, Country Living, Details, Eating Well, Elle Décor, Every Day with Rachael Ray, Family Circle, Family Fun, Food Network Magazine, Good Housekeeping, Harper’s Bazaar, HGTV Magazine, House Beautiful, Ladies' Home Journal, Living the Country Life, Marie Claire, Midwest Living, More, O, The Oprah Magazine, Redbook, Road & Track, Seventeen, Successful Farming, Teen Vogue, Town & Country, Traditional Home, Veranda, W Magazine, Women’s Day, and WOOD. All these titles will be added to the basic subscription level.

Added to the premium level will be Golf World.

All these titles are from the same group of publishers so at least for now, the list of publishers involved with the project has not expanded. But since the service promises "more titles are being added all the time" one has to wonder whether at some point about the business model involved here – without raising the price of the service the money divided up would get spread thinner and thinner if new publishers were to be added. Obviously the service is counting and an ever growing number of subscribers.