July 10, 2012

New iPad App Is All-You-Can-Read Magazine Buffet

Michael Harper for - Your Universe Online

Since its inception, there´s been an ongoing debate about the iPad´s principal purpose here on earth: Consumption or Creation? This debate has started to come to life once again, thanks to a brief argument between New York Times writer Nick Bilton and blogger Jim Dalrymple.

Now, a new app has been released which gives a win to the “consumption” side of the debate.

Using a Netflix-like subscription model, Next Issue Media provides unlimited access to a number of magazines for $10 a month.

Next Issue Media is a joint venture of 5 U.S. publishers: Condé Nast, Hearst, Meredith, News Corp. and Time Inc. While this app has been available on Android for a few months, this app is only now making its way to the iPad, the first ever subscription-based magazine app to ever be available on the App Store.

Next Issue Media CEO Morgan Guenther told VentureBeat “We´re focused on premium content...content that´s not available for free on the web.

Currently, the Next Issue iPad app features 39 different magazines from the participating publishers, including Allure, Better Homes and Gardens, Car and Driver, GQ, People, Time and Vogue. Next Issue´s Chief Technology Officer Keith Barraclough told the Loop Insight there would be many more titles expected later in the year.

Next Issue offers two types of subscription plans: Unlimited Basic, which includes titles which are released monthly and bi-weekly, such as Car and Driver, Fortune and Vanity Fair. Unlimited Basic also gives readers access to past issues, though only through 2012. Unlimited Basic costs $9.99 a month.

The second plan, Unlimited Premium, includes every title in the Next Issue Media stable of publications, such as Entertainment Weekly, People and Sports Illustrated and their back issues through 2012. The unlimited Premium plan is $14.99 a month. Like most subscription-based plans, a subscription to Next Issue is paid automatically via credit card and is ongoing until the user cancels the subscription. Next Issue is also offering a 30-day free trial of all subscription plans for those on the fence about the service. They also offer individual magazine subscriptions from $1.99 to $9.99 a month as well as single issues, ranging anywhere from $2.49 to $5.99 per.

Apple has always pushed digital reading on their iPad. When the tablet launched in 2010, Apple also launched the iBookstore, a way for Apple users to buy ebooks for their iDevices. Later, Apple launched Newsstand, an alternate-yet-integrated marketplace wherein Apple users can purchase or subscribe to their favorite magazine publications. Despite this push, many are still wondering if this digital reading market will ever really take off.

For instance, it took Time Inc. 2 years to finally come around to the iPad side of things. Just last month, Time Inc. announced they´d be bringing their publications to the iPad. Time was one of the publication world´s last hold outs in bringing their magazines to the popular Apple tablet. Apple currently sells more than 5,000 publications in their Newsstand portion of the iTunes store. Next Issue is an iPad only app and is available now for free on the App Store.