How Next Issue Media Is Trying To Become Spotify For Magazines

The service for all-you-can-eat magazine subscriptions will soon add new titles and personalized recommendations, says CEO Morgan P. Guenther.

Back in April, a conglomerate of top publishers including Condé Nast, Hearst Corporation, and Time Inc. created Next Issue, an Android app for all-you-can-eat magazines at a fixed monthly price of either $9.99 or $14.99, depending on your subscription. Now, three months after the launch of its iPad app, Next Issue Media CEO Morgan P. Guenther shared some details about Next Issue's 70,000 iPad users at the American Magazine Conference this week.

Unsurprisingly, the vast majority of Next Issue's iPad readers are highly educated, 30 or older, and affluent, with an average household income of $148,000. In other words, they're exactly the kind of lustworthy targets coveted by the magazine industry's lifeblood: advertisers.

Readers usually spend about an hour a week reading between 11 and 14 magazines. For readers on the $14.99 premium unlimited subscription plan--who gain access to extra titles such as The New Yorker--that figure bumps up to an hour and a half of engagement per week. And, just as Next Issue wants, most users are spending at least some of that time reading a magazine they've never read before. Interestingly enough, only a quarter of readers said they visited a magazine's website after reading an article on the Next Issue app.

The 72 current titles available through Next Issue are familiar ones, such as Vanity Fair and The New Yorker, which altogether amass 550 million in total readership and more than $12.5 billion in ad revenue. But Guenther tells Fast Company that by year's end, Next Issue will expand its catalog to include its first five to 10 titles from publishers outside the founding group. That could potentially lay the groundwork for smaller, less-mainstream titles to gain exposure on the Next Issue platform. And as its catalog gets bigger, Guenther says Next Issue also wants to develop features for sharing and personalized recommendations.

"The focus is not so much on media ownership but on 'any time, on demand access' to a very broad category of content at a fixed monthly price," Guenther says of the music, film, and TV industries. "So the question for us was why not magazines?"

[Image: Flickr user Mannobhai]

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2 Comments

  • Drue Hontz

    Seems like a great concept, the publishers and the consumer are always looking for additional distribution channels and the iPad is probably one of the best. Look forward to following their progress.

  • Tablazines

    While this is GREAT for the consumer (I'd probably read a lot more magazines and be willing to try out magazines that I previously wouldn't have), how is this good for publishers as magazines are still expensive to produce?

    I mean for a small digital only mag company like ours, I don't see an issue.. but how can companies like Hearst or Conde Nast make a profit?