Condé Nast Slows Rollout Pace of Its iPad Magazines


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Ad Age reports that after disappointing sales of the titles it launched soon after last year’s debut of the iPad, Condé Nast is slowing down and reassessing their app strategy on a publication by publication basis. Some choice quotes include this one from an unidentified publisher:

“They’re not all doing all that well, so why rush to get them all on there?”

President Bob Sauerberg said:

“There hasn’t been any fundamental shift in our plans, commitment or enthusiasm regarding apps… From the onset, our strategy has remained fluid and responsive to the marketplace. Given our industry lead, with digital editions from eight of our titles on the iPad and more on the way in addition to a good deal of learning under our belt, we are increasing our focus on distribution and sales efforts that will encourage scale.”

First, that’s corporate spin for “Our products were not very good and no one wanted them.” Second, an increased focus on distribution and sales is fine, but what the company really needs to double-down on is its user experience strategy — which was terrible. That’s the real root of why these apps are not “doing all that well.” Working even harder to distribute and sell bad products is a waste of energy.

Read the full article here.

  1. Well if disappointing sales = revenue, I can see why. I enjoyed the portability of the New Yorker – usability issues aside, but I couldn’t swallow the price. Consumers have been trained to expect a reduced price for digital vs physical. There are no printing, paper, binding and mailing costs in a digital edition and many of the digital costs are spread across the users. So why pay the same?

  2. I agree with the previous commenter. The UX of the apps aren’t keeping me from purchasing the price is – it is unreasonable to expect an existing print subscriber to pay the full newsstand price for a digital edition. It’s time to get real with the pricing of the digital editions.

    Print subscribers should get the digital edition for free or at the very least a break on the price. This digital edition price gauging has harmed the Conde Nast brand in my opinion.

  3. I agree price is a significant part of the user experience. So more accurately it is the price of each digital edition and not the usability of the apps that are keeping me away.

  4. I feel like I need to play devils advocate on price. Even though they don’t need the required people and equipment to distribute e-subscriptions, they still need a technical department to create and manage the new e-content. Technical people tend to be more expansive then printers, as well as the magazine still needing to produce a physical copy of their work. So to me the it is not all that unexpected that the digital content is as expensive as the print. However I believe that e-content should be free with a physical subscription. given away as an extra to pull me into buying the print copy giving me options on how, when and what I can read it on.

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