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Netflix for Magazines?

Posted on Friday, January 30, 2015 at 10:45 PM

In the news: Questioning the viability of the Netflix model for magazine content.

Can publishers derive significant revenue by "Netflixing" their titles? Last week, TheAtlantic.com discussed "The Impossible Dream of a 'Netflix' for Magazines," calling into question the viability of such a model. Derek Thompson writes, "A 'Netflix for (apps of) magazines' has the pretty, pat sound of an idea with a commercially successful future, except that magazine apps have a minuscule market and the Internet is already Netflix enough for most news and entertainment consumers."

What are some of the challenges of a Netflix model for magazines? For one, as Thompson mentions in the above quote, app users comprise a very small percentage of overall readership. Moreover, there's less incentive for magazine readers to pay for an app when much of the information is available for free on other sites. Writes Thompson, "Netflix's competition is a $90-a-month subscription to the full cable bundle. Magazine apps' competition is a universe of $0-a-month websites." Read his full commentary here.

Also Notable

Magzter Gold and the Netflix Model

Although Derek Thompson raises compelling points in the aforementioned TheAtlantic.com piece, magazine publishers are still experimenting with Netflix-like modes of content delivery. Magzter Gold is now offering over 2,000 titles for a flat rate of $9.99 per month. In a photo caption for a recent LATimes.com piece about Magzter, Paresh Dave acknowledges the challenges of the tablet magazine market: "Publishers are struggling to get readers to subscribe to digital magazines delivered to their tablets and phones." The deck acknowledges another challenge mentioned in Thompson's article: "Magazines face the same problem as newspapers: Readers have grown used to receiving articles for free online." Read the full article here.

New Hearst Print Title Set for 2016

The year 2015 has hardly begun, but Hearst is already looking ahead to next year. Details are scarce, but the publisher is currently exploring possible joint ventures to make the new print title happen. This is the latest in a string of new (Dr. Oz The Good Life et al.) or revived (Town & Country Travel) Hearst print brands. Read more here.

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