What An iPad Magazine Needs To Be

Richard Branson and Rupert Murdoch are both moving in to the iPad subscription business — uncharted territory even for a media tycoon and an ambitious entrepreneur. Their foray in to iPad content distribution will come as Apps, digital magazines that will hopefully give new life to an aging  method of printing information. Murdoch and Branson are both ambitious but there’s doubt about their plans to reinvigorate the magazine and newspaper. 

Content creators have either embraced the iPad or railed against the tablet. The iPad is something that shouldn’t be ignored but many Apps have been trial and errors of delivering content. In-App purchase helped ease publishers’ fears that the iPad can’t be a serious contender for those accustomed to newspapers. However, Apple holds a lot of control over the entire process from publishing to consumption. If publishers — and Apple are serious about making the iPad as revolutionary as the printing press was, this is what needs to be done,

Make subscriptions stupid easy. They need to be as unobtrusive as possible for the end-user but robust enough for a publisher. Going through Apple’s process of pushing content makes it that much more difficult — access to analytics and the full cut of in App purchases/subscriptions are also casualties of the process. For the end user, subscriptions need to be downloaded in the background. If it can’t be faster than going outside to pick up the newspaper or even opening a new page on Safari to read the same news online, that’s a case against Apple’s proposed subscription model.

The same goes for publishers — if the content you’re publishing is delayed just like a newspaper, it’s that much harder to justify reading. This is a connected world – it takes seconds to find the latest updates on Twitter which is formatted in a nice, neat summary. Having to wait is an arbitrary limitation imposed by those still nostalgic about the printed word and its flaws in the digital age.

For newspapers and magazines to not only work but become something great, they need to be interactive. The focus should be on the content. It needs to be interactive, hands on (pun not intended) and have access to constantly updated information. The biggest limitation of newspapers and magazines is they’re essentially carved in stone once they leave the printing press. Applying this same limitation to an iPad only magazine or newspaper is idiotic and cowardly in the face of advancing technology. Murdoch, I’m looking right at you.

Apple and publishers have the chance to give magazines and newspapers new life on the iPad. Publishers will need more leverage with distribution which is something Apple has been adamant about controlling entirely. But if the two can set aside their differences and make interactive content that transcends the limitations of paper, the iPad could be saving a lot of forests.

About Tanner Godarzi

Tanner is tech-savvy with an eye for great content who is pursuing his Bachelors of Science in Web Design and Interactive Media from the Art Institute of California—Orange County. Tanner has been a freelance Blogger and Social Media consultant for over 4 years and contributed content for O'Reilly's "Big Book Of Apple Hacks." Tanner has blogged for industry notables such as Hadley Stern for Apple Matters, C.K. for Obsessable and gave insight about Social Media for The Blog Herald. Tanner resides in Huntington Beach and is a cycling enthusiast.

Comments

  1. Apple’s use of digital magazines on their innovative iPad is an application that does not come as a surprise. Even before the iPad was invented, many internet users were surfing the web to read about news and other topics of their interests. In a “going green” environment, receiving electronic subscriptions has become very common, for example users of the kindle can have their newspapers uploaded to their kindle device. Marketers that have advertisementa in paper magazines will need to adapt to the changes that are coming from the use of electronic subscriptions. Hopefully magazine subscribers will not have to adopt their means of reading their favorite magazines.

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