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How to Save Tablet Magazines


Jon Lund makes some good points in his essay “Why tablet magazines are a failure.”

Tablet magazines need not fail. Here’s how to save them.

1. Make tablet magazines more focused. Consumers may not download an automobile magazine on their iPad every month. But they may hunt down an app that helps them choose the right minivan or muscle car. Break existing magazines into a la carte offerings, enhance them with utility, and distribute them to targeted audiences.  

More on the topic, from a 2010 blog post. If only publishers had listened.

2. Partner. Publishers have content. Brands have products. Put them together and you have a powerful way to sell merchandise. Nike sells running shoes. Publishers make content for runners. An app that helps runners train for a marathon by providing advice, interspersed with marketing for Nike products and e-commerce links, delivers value for everyone.

3. Make them special. If consumers can get the same content elsewhere, they will. Capitalize on ways that tablet magazines trump the web: rich design that isn’t confined to templates; offline content that doesn’t require internet; instantaneous interactivity without streaming; experiential content that leverages tablet features like gyroscopes and cameras.

4. Get people talking. Magazines are full of stories. Let consumers join the fray through real-time commenting, twitter feeds and other modules that turn soliloquies into dialogues. Turn magazines into something to do, rather than something to read. Provide access to the authors and subjects of your magazines through in-app forums that incentivize consumers to participate.

5. Get people shopping. Every magazine spread is a catalog waiting to happen. Embed click-to-buy links and infuse your content with e-commerce capabilities. The commissions provide revenue opportunities that allow publishers to shift their models from money-up-front issues to free content intended to amass large audiences bustling with buyers.

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