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Google Discontinues Print Replica Subscriptions

Posted on Wednesday, January 29, 2020 at 11:50 PM

In the news: Google has finally phased out PDF replicas of print magazines.

Earlier this month, Google stopped offering subscriptions to digital replicas of print magazines. The format didn’t translate well on smartphones, a shortcoming that cemented its fate. Kim Lyons of TheVerge.com says the move comes as no big surprise: “The magazine section has not been visible in the Play Store for about a year,” she writes. “Subscribers can continue to access previously purchased issues via the Google News app, but they won’t be able to purchase new subscriptions.”

The print replicas were a vestige of a time when the industry hoped that tablet magazines would “save ‘old media,’” says Lyons. The PDFs were clunky to navigate and resize on the portable reading device that wound up winning the device wars -- i.e., smartphones, not tablets. Google is offering refunds to remaining subscribers. Read more here.

Also Notable

New Initiative Matches Editors to Newsrooms

Last week, a project called Investigative Editing Corps launched. According to Kristen Hare of Poynter.org, the IEC is “a project that pairs seasoned investigative editors with local newsrooms. The editors get stipends for their work through foundation funding that supports the project. The newsrooms pay nothing.” The initiative will cover multiple formats, she says, “including public radio, broadcast, print and online.” Read more about the IEC and how it works here.

Vox Pivots to Podcasts

In the coming year, Vox Media will invest at least $20 million to expand its podcast offerings, reports Kayleigh Barber of Digiday.com. The money will go toward some new podcasts, but Barber reports that, according to Vox Media Studios president Marty Moe, the focus will be on growing existing popular podcasts. Currently Vox has 200-plus shows in its roster, a huge perk because, as Barber notes, the “network already has an ingrained audience exposed to its programming.” Read more here.

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