Apple’s Newsstand Six Weeks after Launch

Journalism.co.uk this week has a podcast interview with Daryl Rayner, Exact Editions founder and MD. Also on the podcast with Daryl are representatives of two UK publishers, Future (Mike Goldsmith) and Factory Media (Chris Talintyre). It is striking that all three parties report striking and impressive success from the launch of Newsstand in rather similar terms.

One slightly surprising fact about the interviewed group, is that between them these three companies were responsible for about 1/3 of the titles available in the first week of the Newsstand (Future 50+, Exact Editions 30+ and Factory Media 17). That makes c. 100 out of the <300 titles available in mid-October. I am not sure why British companies should have been so far ahead of the game in getting these mainly British magazines into the Newsstand market (Exact Editions has some American, French and Australian titles), although it is perhaps understandable that there are still relatively few non=english language titles available. New magazines are certainly coming into Newsstand, but it isn’t yet a flood. Today there are 457 titles available, and this is still a trifling proportion of the magazines/newsspapers available as apps on iTunes and a tiny proportion of the consumer magazine market. There will soon be a flood, and Apple will soon turn off the ability to list all available titles in Newsstand — there will be too many.

The Guardian today carries an interview with the publisher of the most successful current affairs magazine of the last twenty years: Andrew Rashbass of the Economist. The Economist’s app is not yet on the iTunes Newsstand, but this cannot be a principled objection to selling subs through iTunes, since subscriptions can be purchased through the app and they will be transacted via Apple. Exact Editions experience of recent iTunes sales suggests that they really need to push its app into the maelstrom (the results will be “very pleasing” as Daryl says). No matter how good a publisher’s reach may be, and the Economist has longer arms than almost anyone else, the iTunes grasp is much, much greater.

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