Thursday, May 9, 2013

Morning Brief: Hearst Magazines names its first president of digital media; Mansueto Ventures updates iPad app for Fast Company, adds 1-month sub; Microsoft reportedly looking to buy Nook Media's digital assets

First thing this morning Hearst Magazines dropped word that it had named its first president of Hearst Magazines Digital Media, Troy Young, formerly president of Say Media. Prior to joining Say Media, formerly VideoEgg, Young worked at the digital agency Organic. Having worked at Hearst and called on VideoEgg in its early days, I can tell Mr. Young that he is in for quite a culture shock now at Hearst.

"Pure-play digital companies and agencies move at warp speed, and Troy has been an integral part of that landscape since its inception,” said David Carey, president of Hearst Magazines. "He’s incredibly strategic and will bring the pulse of a startup to our world-class brands, focusing on content quality, velocity and accessibility on all platforms, as well as developing our video storytelling and creating new revenue streams. Big companies increasingly need to think and act like early-stage businesses, quickly iterating products, and Troy's pure-play experience will enable Hearst to accomplish that."

Mansueto Ventures today updated its iPad app for Fast Company. The update made some minor changes to the app storefront, but more importantly, added a monthly subscription option.

The monthly subscription is one of the unique features introduced by Apple in the Newsstand. In print, of course, a paid subscription never lasts less than one year, and most circulation managers try very hard to get readers to sign up for even longer periods of time.

In the Newsstand, a subscription can not last longer than one year, and it is fairly common to see 3-months subscriptions offered. The difference, though, is that these subscriptions auto renew (if they didn't, the system would not work for publishers at all).

Many magazines offer 1-month subscriptions. These inexpensive subs get readers to try out the title, and publishers hope readers will simply let the subscription continue on indefinitely. For readers, the 1-month sub is the way they buy a single issue on the cheap rather than buying the single issue at the regular price. It is a little game that seems to benefit both the reader and the publisher.

TechCrunch last night reported that Microsoft is offering to buy the digital assets of Nook Media LLC for $1 billion as Barnes & Noble moves to a business model where it sees its services distributed by third party partners. As a result, B&N would get out of the device business, discontinuing its Nook tablet line some time in 2014.