Apple’s Newsstand Is Already Booming For Some Magazine Publishers

Early indications are that Apple’s new iOS features for publishers have had an immediate beneficial impact.

  • Exact Editions, which says it made about 10 percent of the Newsstand app titles on iTunes Store, says downloads of freemium sample editions jumped by 14x in just a few days, whilst some titles’ actual sales have more than doubled.
  • Consumer magazine publisher Future says free container apps for its titles were downloaded two million times in three days and reports “consumer spending well in excess of normal monthly revenues”. “Future has sold more digital editions in the past four days through Apple’s Newsstand than in a normal month,” says UK CEO Mark Wood.

Sales across the board have shot up, more than doubled the normal daily sales rate,” according to Adam Hodgkin, co-founder of Exact Editions, which digitises print titles including The Spectator and Press Gazette for purchase over the web and as iOS apps. “Some magazines have experienced a 150 percent increase in sales. This appears to be continuing beyond the launch weekend.

“Exact Editions noticed exceptionally high levels of activity over the weekend. Freemium sample apps were downloaded much more over the weekend than normal. Sales through iTunes are rapidly getting stronger and stronger.”

Here are Exact Editions’ downloads…

Although Future’s numbers have rocketed, this does not represent the “750 percent increase” being cited in some reports, which do not compare like with like. That is because, until last week, most of Future’s digital editions were not actually available as apps, only through Zinio’s newsstand.

On the same day Apple (NSDQ: AAPL) launched Newsstand, Future also pushed some 55 of these editions outside Zinio to iTunes Store as individual iOS apps. In other words, for Future, this is the difference between Zinio and iTunes Store rather than between pre- and post-Newsstand.

Even so, Newsstand’s features (automatic edition downloading, a dedicated publications folder and a new section of iTunes Store) were absolutely part of Future’s strategy in doing so. And it is so far reaping rewards.

“It’s clear that Newsstand creates an amazing opportunity for publishers – and I’m committed to continue driving our brands through this great new distribution channel,” says Future UK CEO Mark Wood.

“We plan to include more sampler issues in every magazine container in coming weeks, as well as uploading high price-point bookazines and premium one-shot titles.”

“Apple seem to have got this just right,” says Exact Editions co-founder Daryl Rayner. “In July they introduced the new in-app purchasing and auto-renewal system. This has worked a treat with high renewals (over 80 percent). We saw sales more than doubling between June and August, and it looks as though Apple have now pushed the Newsstand into the foreground and this will provide further sales uplift.

“Magazines with a strong visual impact are doing particularly well (The Wire, Selvedge) and, interestingly, the literary magazines are equally strong (The Spectator and Le Monde Diplomatique).

“It’s all about the iPad. iPad owners are buying digital magazines (85-plus percent of our customers are buying titles for their iPad) and publishers need to get their magazines into the iTunes mix before the holiday season.”