Next Issue Media Rolls Out Newsstand
Next Issue Media may have finally found its mojo. As uncertainty over Apple's subscription policies (and seemingly ad hoc arrangements with publishers) continues, the consortium is poised to provide an alternative to Apple's iTunes store for selling tablet editions of magazines.
A joint effort of Condé Nast, Hearst, Meredith, Time, Inc. and News Corporation, Next Issue has launched a long-awaited preview of its newsstand for the Android platform—though it currently only works for Samsung Galaxy tablet users on Verizon's network, and only features seven magazines.
Users can buy single issues or subscribe to get discount offers and exclusive bonus content. New subscribers get the first month free; existing print subscribers are eligible for a free or discounted digital upgrade. Best of all for publishers, all subscriber information will be owned by them, unlike as is the case with subscriptions sold through Apple.
"Limited though it may be, the Next Issue preview is still noteworthy because it demonstrates that the big publishers can work together toward a vision that many in the industry view as the digital endgame: a virtual newsstand where readers can pick and choose among titles, just as they might if they were browsing at Hudson News while waiting for the subway," notes Sam Gustin in Wired magazine's Epicenter blog.
Magazines currently available are Hearst's Esquire and Popular Mechanics; Meredith's Fitness and Parents; Conde Nast's New Yorker; and Time Inc.'s Fortune and Time. The Next Issue website promises: "More titles, devices and features...coming soon!"
The consortium ran into criticism last year for its slow pace in rolling out its long-promised digital newsstand, which some believe effectively ceded momentum (and control) over the digital magazine market to Apple. Next Issue CEO Morgan Guenther told All Things Digital this week that the consortium should be offering "at least 40 titles" by the end of 2011 and that the newsstand will by that time be available on more tablets.