When the Next Big Thing quickly turns into the Most Recent Overhyped Thing, the debate starts around whether it’s dead and who killed it. This is where we are with magazine apps, according to Dead Tree Edition.
“In 2010, all the cool people in publishing were working on apps. But four years after the Star of Bethlehem appeared over Cupertino to announce the birth of the iPad, sales of tablet-based editions are barely a footnote for most magazine publishers, constituting a few percentage points of total circulation,” the blog notes.
“Tablet magazines have become an afterthought, intended mostly to impress 22-year-old media buyers and to shave a few percentage points off the 3P (print, paper, and postage) costs of meeting magazines’ bloated circulation guarantees.”
Who’s responsible? According to the article, there are no fewer than nine culprits, from Publishers (when tablet editions showed no signs of immediate success, we cut off their rations); to Advertisers (who remain skeptical of paying for digital circulation); to smartphones (app-heavy smartphones have turned the tablet into a “nice to have,” not a necessity).
Even Angry Birds and Netflix share some of the blame.
“Despite an owner’s best intentions, there’s something about a tablet that wants to be more toy than tool. You’ve got a few minutes of down time and a tablet in your hands: Are you going to start plowing through that article on the global debt crisis – or try to beat your personal-best score?” Dead Tree Edition asks.
Those nine culprits surely played a role, yet we believe the article overlooks one key point. People prefer to read their magazines in print. And there’s no app for getting over that.