Hearst exec: Apple’s iPad leads digital magazine sales; users don’t want interactive content

“Hearst, the publishing conglomerate that includes several of the world’s largest magazine brands, sees a bright future of iPad and tablet editions,” Ryan Faas reports for Cult of Mac. “Duncan Edwards, CEO of Hearst Magazines International, delivered some surprising statements as to what that future will look like at this week’s World e-Reading Congress in London.”

“The most surprising statement was that Hearst doesn’t plan to include interactive content in its digital publications despite work done in the company’s little known App Lab and the belief that users will pay more for a digital edition,” Fass reports. “Edwards also described mix of devices used by Hearst digital subscribers. That mix is headed up by the iPad but with Barnes & Noble’s Nook platform right behind it.”

Fass reports, “As to the breakdown of mobile devices and platforms used for reading its magazines, Hearst sees that iPad and iOS devices in the lead with about a third of the market. It’s worth noting also that Zinio as a platform can be used on a range of devices including the iPad. iOS – 35%; Nook – 30%; Zinio – 20%; Amazon – 15%.”

Read more in the full article here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Dan K.” for the heads up.]


  1. Why would I pay MORE for digital content? There is no paper or ink. There is no delivery cost. It is idiots like this that are the current equivalents of the record company execs ten years ago.

    1. Well, they mean MORE digital content vs. the print edition. Video, sound, interactivity, etc. If done well, then users will pay more than they do for a traditional magazine.

    2. I’d pay more for digital, precisely because there’s no paper, no ink, no mechanical delivery, and it is more convenient, portable, interactive, and valuable to me personally.

      You can obsess all you like over what someone ought to charge, but at a user, I will pay according to what matters to ME, not the vendor, or certainly not some irrelevant third party on the sidelines who’d rather talk about idiots.

      If it’s truly cheaper to provide content digitally, why don’t you go into that business and undercut everyone? Great! But until you’ve tried it, don’t just tell somebody else what his business model has to be.

    3. The delivery cost and the cost of paper and ink are totally, completely, utterly irrelevant to the price of the final product. Companies will charge what customers are willing to pay — the price that will maximize their profits.

      If the cost of screening a movie at theatres is suddenly cut in half tomorrow due to digital distribution or whatever else, would you expect the the theatres to cut ticket prices?

      didn’t think so.

    4. Ahh, you do not understand the mind of American business. The price always goes up or he product gets degraded.

      Consumer products are rife with examples where a couple of ounces are shaved or former standard items deleted without a reduction in price. They cheapen the product and keep the price the same or – in their mind even better- they de-content AND raise prices.

      You are correct- the whole chain excepting creative is now much cheaper because you now pay for distribution and the media (internet and digital device). How dare you think that they might adjust the price.

  2. I currently use Newstand for only one magazine as trial. It happens to be Car & Driver. I enjoy the minimalist approach they take with interactive content, but do think it enhances the reading experience. I have also tried Zinio but only because they were offering a free subscription. It is my intention, as my paper subscriptions run out, to renew those mags through Newsstand, but only if prices are competitive. I am not willing to pay a lot more for convenience, but that is just me.

    1. Newsstand is lame. Zinio does have the backup issue, but is much preferred to Newsstand.
      I can read my Zinio content on my Mac. Apple does not see fit to support it’s own desktop OS with Books, Newsstand or iTunes U.

  3. Zinio blows. If you replace your hard drive, even migrating your user and email, Zinio makes you not only download all of your content again, but download Zinio itself again. You can’t easily have your content on multiple devices, retain bookmarks, etc. It’s a horrible, horrible broken locked down system. Never use it.

    1. Agreed, Haven’t used it in YEARS. Discovered I couldn’t move the content when I upgraded my MBP and decided right then, NO MAS!!

  4. People should be able to pay EXCLUSIVELY for what they use. It isn’t that hard to throw in few more lines of code, so that one’s use can be measured (and and see what’s measured).
    You read a lot = you pay a little more

    1. No, it’s not hard to add code. But why would the provider do that? It seems to me that his ads more commonly say, “all our content for the same low price,” not, “read more and we will sock it to you.”

    2. Don’t be using that kind of commie logic round’ here. There is no fairness allowed in business, or life. Only thing that matters is protection’ profits.

      This here is Americah, you want cheaper you use more. Ain’t ya’ll ever been to Sams club or Costco. Spend more to get it cheaper, thats how it works.

      You only want a little bit, well it’s gonna cost you more. We got profits to protect boy..

  5. I have used Zinio since 2007 on the computer.
    When the iPad app became available. All my purchases since 07 are still available.
    Just to say, my kindle content is also always available.
    When I changed from iPad3 from iPad1, I had to re download content to those apps, as well as PressReader.

  6. I do not want to pay more for anything. I want the best discount possible for the content, print or digital. If I get the print media, I want the digital version for free. If I get the digital version only, I expect to pay the minimal price I would have otherwise paid for the print version. This is advertised content, therefore it should technically be free to us. If anything we pay for distribution only.

    As far as interactive content, over print media, I do not care. If it’s auxiliary to the print content, “okay” but not if it gets in the way, I don’t want it.

    The interesting aspect to magazine media, it’s content is extremely dated. The value is lost quickly over time. They do not have to worry about piracy as the “pirate” is less interested in the past content. Therefore they have a built in content protection from the aspect of constant refresh of current information.

    Do you see people pirating news papers and magazines? I don’t and have no desire to do this myself. I feel I represent a lot of people’s sentiments.

  7. I subscribe to Mac|Life for $.99 on the iPad. I won’t pay more and I won’t buy the print version for $7.99. I actually like print magazines better, but it’s the $.99 price point the got me to subscribe and remain subscribed for 8 issues now.

    This is the way of the future, just like iTunes songs at $.99. That’s the magic price point.

  8. Users will prefer digital, interactive content once publishers figure out that it needs to cost the same or less than print and not just be a PDF of the magazine.

    Auto magazines would be a natural — 360 degree views, video of actual tests, video of how the infotainment system works, etc.

    The real problem is that the publishers have the same guys who were raised on creating magazines are now supposed to create something different with the same content. They simply don’t think in interactive terms yet.

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