When The Economist and PressReader announced last year an expansion of their strategic partnership, it underlined just how high-profile the digital platform has become. With digital magazines increasing in popularity, FIPP and Wessenden Marketing are bringing out a new report exclusively for FIPP members, Digital Newsstands – the definitive guide.
The report, made in strategic partnership with PressReader, looks at how the major digital newsstands and aggregators operate and what the future of online publishing looks like.
“Initially over-hyped as the ‘digital future for magazines’, the industry’s view of digital magazines cooled and they were then denigrated by many as ‘the Sony Betamax of publishing’ – a step of intermediate technology on the path to a much more flexible and sophisticated platform,” says Jim Bilton, Managing Director of Wessenden and author of Digital Newsstands – the definitive guide.
“Yet as the digital magazine has become more flexible – and also, more difficult to define – the value of issue-based products has been more appreciated for their utility and cost-efficiency. This has been mirrored in a confusing increase in the range of routes to the consumer and the business models that sit behind each opportunity.”
Exploring the options and questions swirling round the digital platform, the report maps out the Digital Content Delivery Systems (DCDS) market, looks at the different types of digital magazines, identifies geographic digital hotspots and gives both a publisher and consumer perspective on online publishing.
“Consumers have a bewildering and growing range of ways to access magazine content digitally,” says Bilton. “Each consumer platform has its own distinct dynamics. Also, consumers themselves are becoming more demanding and more difficult to define.”
For publishers, digital magazines have “an important and stable place in consumer magazine publishing,” adds Bilton. “In addition, the rocketing costs of manufacturing and distributing print products are giving new impetus to the digital format. Yet the options for publishers are as complex and wide-ranging as they are for consumers.”
Analysing the major digital newsstands and aggregators, the report features a look at packages offered by the likes of PressReader, Magzter, Apple News+, Readly, Zinio and Cafeyn and provides top tips for using aggregators.
Turning to the future of digital magazines, Bilton says the format is having a longer life than many were anticipating.
“The digital magazine is changing and becoming more sophisticated and interactive, moving from simple text-based reading into audio and video extensions.
“There is no certainty about any content delivery system in the future. Yet digital magazines are thriving and still retain a role in a changing media landscape.”