Future’s Newsstand Transformation: 75,000 New Subscribers

UK magazine publisher Future made $1 million in new tablet magazine revenue within a month of debuting 65 of its titles on iTunes’ Newsstand.

104 days after Future debuted the titles with Newsstand’s September 12 launch, tablet editor-in-chief Mike Goldsmith revealed stats at the UK Association of Online Publishers’ tablet publishing forum in London on Wednesday…

  • 75,000 subscriptions gained
  • 40 percent of orders are for subscriptions
  • 9.3 million free container apps downloads
  • 8.5 million free issues
  • 4.3 million opt-ins for push messages

Next steps: “One thing we are seeing, early doors, comparing interactive edition to flat edition, is the ‘HDs’ have a higher conversion rate,” Goldsmith said. “So we are currently looking at the wealth of page turners and saying ‘that’s our flag in the ground, which are the ones that are performing best?’ That’s great data to have. i think there’s money there.”

The magazine apps are free downloads that contain samples and offer single titles and subscriptions for purchase. Many of the 75,000 subs are short-term and cost only £0.69 regularly, so Goldsmith cautions that subscriber count could go down as well as up and not all subscribers are high-value.

All but three of Future’s ipAD titles – T3, Guitarist Deluxe and Tap! – are page-turner magazine replicas. But Goldsmith said: “Flat page turners work for that sadly silent majority. If I did a T3 on every one of future’s 65 titles, I’d bankrupt the company. Until then, do expect negative comments.”

Meanwhile, resurrecting even old magazines could bring worthwhile income. “Back issues have been rejuvenated,” Goldsmith said. “We uploaded 90 back issues in to our containers on December 20 and made a high, four-figure sum in terms of profit back from that.”

Are the iPad sales damaging print? “Cannibalisation, schammnibalisation,” Goldsmith added. “Print circulations are declining – we are not going to get them back up – iPad is helping. The genie is out of the bottle, so we need to embrace it. This rulebook is blank.”