The numbers keep indicating that the tablets could save the print industry. At least in theory.
It is now coming out that The New Yorker magazine, a staple of highbrow humor and commentary, has a full 100,000 readers from the iPad itself. This is not an indication, however, of users who are simply going for free content from their iPad. Instead, this comes from 20,000 people who paid the $59.99 cost for a year’s subscription, which then allows for the app to be used for free. Another 75,000 people bought single issues at the $4.99 price to be able to read from their iPad, which means that this also really represents a commercial model of fully digital content.
This is impressive, but far less than the million subscribers that the print version of The New Yorker holds. In either case, it stands as a dramatic sign of what may be to come as dozens of other magazines are moving in this direction. The New Yorker still towers over other Conde Nast publications coming through the iPad, such as GQ or Vanity Fair.
What may be directly tied to its success is actually its move to include the app version as being text heavy, just like the magazine. This was originally thought as an antiquated notion since it did not take advantage of the technological capabilities to have multimedia at every turn, but the editors instead recognized that the strength of the publication was in its writing. If the magazine was really to transition into a portable device subscription model it had to maintain the integrity that would make people feel the need to have it with them, rather than simply treat it like a magazine.
This does not mean that The New Yorker iPad app is devoid of any multimedia content, and they have some nice elements such as poets reading their work aloud. It is debatable right now how The New Yorker iPad app will maintain itself, and whether or not it will end up looking more like the web edition than the print version in the years to come.
The subscriptions mark a nice financial staple for The New Yorker, but all it really does is convince people to maintain subscriptions rather than pull in new revenue. Instead, advertising money is still important and continues to be somewhat lost as we head to a fully digital age. The New Yorker’s audience is often upper brow, with liberal sensibilities and a household income of over $100,000. This puts them in a perfect target location for advertisers, and perhaps they can begin to re-define the types of prices that they can garner from in app advertising.