Interview: Future Publishing’s Tablet Chief Embracing iPad’s Newsstand

Future Publishing (LSE: FUTR) will decide which of its magazine titles to convert in to full iPad editions after unleashing 65 new replica editions on Apple’s new iOS Newsstand.

We’re going for scale with page-turners on Newsstand,” Future’s tablet publishing editor-in-chief Mike Goldsmith tells paidContent.

“As soon as we get analytics from them, we can find out which titles to promote to be the next Guitarist magazine.”

A day after iOS 5 was debuted with its new features for publishers, Future’s Guitarist became only the third title from its large portfolio, following T3 and new title Tap!, to get a custom iPad edition, built using Adobe’s suite.

Until now, Future – which also publishes titles including Total Film, Simply Knitting and Edge – had taken its replicas to iPad through Zinio. But on Wednesday night Future launched these replicas as 65 new individual iPad apps (55 UK titles, 10 U.S.) with iTunes Store subscriptions and iOS’ new automatic edition updates.

“Everything flew up the charts last night,” Goldsmith says, adding that the replicas will remain on Zinio despite now also being extricated.

“We’ll just see what’s successful. These newsstands are just like newsstands we deal with in print. You don’t deal with either WH Smith or Tesco; you deal with the lot.”

iPad has lit a fire under publishers’ digital magazine odyssey. Future was already selling titles through Zinio before the tablet launched, but with little success, shifting only around 195 replicas of T3 per month, for example. Zinio’s own arrival on iPad has done wonders – now T3 replicas sold 7,314 this September 2011.

The full interactive version of Future’s flagship gadget magazine is proving more successful. T3‘s app sold nearly 12,000 downloads in the same month, and Future recently turned its first ever digital profit..

Now, by individualising its titles outside of Zinio, Future will gain more prominence for its brands. And, ultimately, it aims to learn which of those brands should get the same, T3-style, whizz-bang treatment. “Some people don’t want a very large download with lots of audio and video,” Goldsmith observes.