“Not long ago, I heard Hearst Corp Magazine chief executive David Carey relay a remarkable development: Since the debut of the iPad Mini, paid electronic subscriptions for Hearst magazines had skyrocketed. When he said this in February, at the Dive Into Media conference, the iPad Mini wasn’t even three months old. Though the Mini is now outselling the original iPad, the seven-inch version still makes up a small percentage of the total number of tablets out there. And yet, it’s driving an outsized percentage of Hearst’s paid subscriptions. Digital subscriptions had been just shy of 800,000 at the end of 2012, but by February they were at 900,000. Last month, with the help of the Mini, they surged past one million, helping Carey achieve what had been an elusive goal.
Why was the Mini such a digital subscription juggernaut? It’s a women’s product, “something you can put in your purse,” Carey said. That makes it the ideal device for connecting with Hearst titles such as Cosmopolitan, Good Housekeeping and Marie Claire.
This was great news, I thought. A simple design change, shrinking the 10-inch screen, had unlocked a large and growing source of digital revenue. Maybe all the publishing business really needed was the right device to reconnect the reader with the content in the right way. Of course, that’s wishful thinking.”