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Condé Nast's magazines get ready for the iPad

Condé Nast's magazines get ready for the iPad

Magazine publisher, Condé Nast, is getting ready to create iPad versions for its Wired, GQ, Vanity Fair, The New Yorker, and Glamour magazines, according to The New York Times.

While GQ will have a tablet-friendly version ready by April, Wired's version will come in June, with the New Yorker and Glamour getting their iPad versions by summer, said an internal memorandum on Monday.

The New York-based magazine publisher is no stranger to mobile technology. GQ has an iPhone app (pictured on the left) that sold over 15,000 copies last January.
NYT reports that the company will be testing a number of pricing techniques as well as approaches to digitizing the content until the fall. Editorial director of Condé Nast, Thomas J. Wallace, told the NYT that they "need to know a little bit more about what kind of product we can make, how consumers will respond to it, what the distribution system will be."

In fact, digitizing that content could prove to be one of the most important factors in the success of Condé Nast's iPad editions. Many have suggested that multimedia content that makes the iPad experience more unique and memorable will lure in readers. With full-color images and eye-catching graphics, both magazines and newspapers could convince readers that a tablet is the best way to access content.

Condé Nast will be selling its iPad-friendly magazines through iTunes, which will make payments easy, but also means the publisher will have no access to consumer data.

This is a cause of tension between content creators, like newspapers and magazines, and Apple. Publishers value information about their subscribers and that influences both their content creation and their marketing strategies. Apple, known for giving little consumer data beyond sales volume, is facing opposition from publishers who do not want to give up 30 percent of their revenue and their consumer data to a content distributor.

Media executives have told the Financial Times that the concept of giving away close to a third of subscription sales over an indefinite period of time to a company that is merely distributing the product was hard to accept.

No details on what revenue-sharing agreement Condé Nast will set in place with Apple or on the cost of the iPad versions were released. Apple is offering book publishers that sell its content through iBooks for the iPad 70 percent of the royalties, but there has been no word on whether most newspaper or magazine publishers will embrace this revenue cut.

But, it looks like all of these obstacles will not be a problem for Condé Nast's publications.

On the consumer data front, president of Condé Nast digital, Sarah Chubb, said that there are other ways in which the magazines can extract information from the consumer.

One of them is to give the reader a reason to register, like asking them to register with the magazine to see fashion tips, thus giving the magazine information about the reader in exchange for more content.

To gain an additional revenue source, Chubb also told the NYT that they are currently looking at other ways of presenting advertisements to find the one that optimizes the reader's experience.

President and CEO of Condé Nast, Charles H. Townsend, told the NYT that it wants the company to "take a leadership position" when it comes to iPad, hoping the publisher will see "how large a revenue stream digitized content represents" in the process when the iPad starts shipping in April - not in March as it was expected, due to a "manufacturing bottleneck" affecting production of the new tablet computer, according to an analyst who spoke to CNNMoney.

Sources: NYT, CNNMoney.com



Maria Conde


2010-03-02 19:20

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