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'Hulu For Magazines' Relies On Users' Data 41

Posted by Soulskill
from the much-easier-to-ignore-one-object-than-a-rack-full-of-them dept.
Toe, The writes "In an interesting twist on the free/closed mobile platform debate, Apple's closed platform appears to be at least nominally on the free side when it comes to magazine distribution. Magazines have always relied on the demographics of their subscribers to sell ad space to companies who would want to reach that demographic. This apparently has been a sticking point between publishers and Apple, because the latter is unwilling to allow its tools to expose the vast wealth of data that can be tapped from a modern mobile device connected to a purchasing account. For that reason, the so-called 'Hulu for Magazines,' Next Issue Media, will only be available on Android. Still unanswered: do people even want digital magazines?"
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'Hulu For Magazines' Relies On Users' Data

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  • I didn't even know there were digital magazines.

    • Re:Wow (Score:5, Insightful)

      by biryokumaru (822262) <biryokumaru@gmail.com> on Friday November 12, 2010 @07:10PM (#34211884)
      I like to call them "web sites."
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by MrHanky (141717)

        Web sites are very poor when it comes to things like typography. Then again, so are Apple's iBooks, and even Amazon's Kindle, etc., as well, but they will improve with time. But yeah, magazines and journals will definitely have a place in digital distribution, like everything else, and no, they won't be web sites. Creating a top quality magazine for a limited readership costs money, and simply isn't viable as an ad supported web site with a more general audience.

        • Re:Wow (Score:4, Insightful)

          by biryokumaru (822262) <biryokumaru@gmail.com> on Friday November 12, 2010 @07:27PM (#34212000)
          No, no, no... HTML is great for typesetting! Web browsers are just terrible at rendering it.
          • by blair1q (305137)

            Blame the CSS, not the HTML.

            Wait...what?

            • How about blaming the font foundries, for switching to a font rental model if you want to use their fonts on a web site (along with depending on third-party services to actually vend the fonts)?

              Particularly since it would be FREE if the server converted the text/font to a graphic before getting it to the user...

        • by AuMatar (183847)

          So it will be a subscription based web site.

          There are markets for such things, depending on the subject (note that you'd have to beat out the free fanboy alternatives on content, which may be hard). But they're still websites. Calling them "digital magazines" doesn't change that.

        • What? And magazines do have good typography? Every magazine or newspaper I've ever read has had terribly narrow columns and wonky margins. It's as if the lessons learned by book publishers (66-70 characters per line and all that) have completely passed that part of the printing business by.
          • by MrHanky (141717)

            You're reading bad magazines, then.

          • by Bredero (1154131)
            It is a cost issue. Paper and the distribution of it is relatively expensive and the margins in the newspapers are razor thin (hilarious i know) on a product that is cat. Printers are just trying to sell as many millimeters of ad space as possible. Especially since nowadays the largest papers in many countries are the free Metro style papers. For books the production and distribution costs are obviously a lot lower relative to the retail price and they don't make money selling ads in books. You can easily
        • The Web Open Font Format (WOFF) is a font format for use in web pages. It was developed during 2009 and is in the process of being standardized as a recommendation by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) Web Fonts Working Group.

          The format has received the backing of many of the main font foundries and has been supported by Firefox since version 3.6.
          Microsoft added full support for WOFF in the third platform preview of Internet Explorer 9.
          WebKit development builds support WOFF, and Safari will do so in future

        • There are plenty of websites that are very legible - oh, you mean magazines are prettier Guess what? I do not care. I read them for the content.

          You also appear not to have heard of a subscription only web site.

          Finally, the vast majority of magazines are mass circulation. If something is so specialist that it cannot be ad supported given the lower costs of a website, you are going to struggle to cover printing and distribution costs for print as well. Again, there are plenty of very specialist web sites that

          • by MrHanky (141717)

            The world doesn't revolve around you. The fact that you don't care is perfectly irrelevant: web typography sucks. Always.

      • I call them community forums. Yes I have to read/join one for every subject I want to know about but the vast amount of info that is there is amazing and there is not need for magazines anymore.

  • But reading a lot of stuff on a smaller screen than that gets a bit tedious. Ok, so mostly I read /. on my Android phone, which has an excellent browser, but its still too small an unwieldy for my taste.

  • 'digital magazine' even mean? How is ti different then a topic focused website or blog?

    Would http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/ [sciencebasedmedicine.org] be considered a 'digital magazine'?

    • by falldeaf (968657)

      'digital magazine' even mean? How is ti different then a topic focused website or blog?

      Would http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/ [sciencebasedmedicine.org] be considered a 'digital magazine'?

      No, this is what they're talking about: wired, adobe collaboration on a digital magazine [youtube.com] It's basically what it sounds like, a digital version of a magazine format.

      • by geekoid (135745)

        But magazine format is horrid.

        And I kept expecting that guy to tell me it was the the sound of inevitability.

    • by BigDXLT (1218924)

      It's the encapsulation of the articles and content. Think paywall. It gets around the nasty "open, advertising only" internet without the nasty fist shaking that us spoiled in our freedom webusers have come to expect/demand because we expect magazines to cost and we expect apps to cost too!~

      Oh they are sneaky, those marketing types.

  • Hulu? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Beardo the Bearded (321478) on Friday November 12, 2010 @07:15PM (#34211914)

    Hulu isn't a selling point for most people. It's a black screen for anyone outside the US.

    So the question you're asking is not, "do people want digital magazines?" but, "do americans want digital magazines?".
     

    • by rts008 (812749)

      Well, if you're going to be a pedantic asshat, then at least get your nomenclature correct.
      Hint/get a clue/pro tip:
      'Americans' consist of:
      North Americans, which include Canada, USA, and Mexico
      Central Americans, which include Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Panama.
      South Americans, which include Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Columbia, Ecuador, Falkland Islands, French Guiana, Guyana, Paraguay, Peru, South Georgia and
      South Sandwich Islan

  • I love that magazine! It's like Slashdot, only with less fair use!

  • Mobile magazines (Score:2, Insightful)

    by falldeaf (968657)
    Somehow I doubt that mobile magazines will go anywhere. They're worthless on a desktop browser or a small phone. Tablet's are their best chance, but I really think they'll have to do something novel for it to matter. However, I think the truth is readers are moving away from one source for multiple sources of information, just like music. Why buy an entire album when you really just want one track? With articles and news, even in one sitting session, why limit your focus to one distributor of reading materi
  • This story seems to disregard the fact that zinio is available for ipad and iphone...

  • The question de-unanswered itself.

  • by timon (46050) on Friday November 12, 2010 @10:56PM (#34213188) Homepage

    I used to work for one of the major providers of digital editions for the magazine industry, and given what I've seen in the past 5 years, I think the answer is no. At least, not replicas of existing consumer-oriented magazines in a digital format for the same or slightly lower price. Existing subscribers are also extremely reluctant to sign up for free digital editions even if all it requires is giving someone their email address. No privacy policy will convince them that it won't be sold. Adoption rates are better for B2B or trade magazines, but the readership for those is very small and targeted in the first place, so it often doesn't make sense to try to sell those subscribers on unrelated magazines. "We see you are a subscriber to a journal on the bulk cargo shipping industry. Would you like to sign up for this mass-marketed exercise magazine aimed at women 30-45?"

    • by BitZtream (692029)

      So basically what you're saying is that in the digital world, people are starting to take back their role of being the customer rather than the product for magazine publishers then?

  • Still unanswered: do people even want digital magazines?"

    Luckily we have companies who answer these difficult questions. What would we do without them?

  • ...not until I can afford to keep a spare digital magazine reader next to each of my toilets.
  • I use Zenio on my iPhone, iPad, and Mac for several magazine subscriptions. Works great, and I read my magazines more consistently than before, because the iPad is much more likely to be within reach when I have a few minutes to fill.

  • like that.

    Magazines are basically a collection of web journal article.

    Being that I can now just get the RSS links to random people off the web that interest me and get the articles myself, for free, with the money actually going to the writer ... I can not possibly see how magazines would be wanted.

    Magazines historically only existed because the barrier to entry to publishing was so high, you had to work in groups to get noticed, printed and paid.

    Too bad for the magazine industry that the Internet made publ

  • by kobotronic (240246) on Saturday November 13, 2010 @11:56AM (#34215742)

    I don't want to buy content that can peer back at me.

    I certainly wouldn't buy a magazine through an iTunes storefront if I knew that such a sale would result in Apple sharing with the content provider everything they knew about me (which is almost certainly too much but how can I tell?)

    The magazine buying experience should be no more entangled than anonymously getting a National Geographic at an airport to pass time. If you choose to subscribe that should mean nothing more than a regularly scheduled money transaction to the content provider.

    I don't know why a digital magazine would need to include advertisements specifically managed by the individual magazine content providers. Because that's how things have been done in the paper print days? That is a lame horse-and-buggy argument.

    Ad networks for websites manage to deliver globally localized ads without the website content provider having to go in and do anything at all.

    Given that these are *digital* magazines, it would be positively retarded for content providers to make the ads static members of the "pages" that would form the content issue. Flip through the pages of any old Nat Geo you might have lying around. How many of those ads are still relevant? The brands may persist but the product-specific ads go stale very fast.

    It would make most sense to leave the user in control and make the ads a customizable nuisance you can dial up and down in quantity and personalization and resulting worth to offset the magazine content cost.

    The selection and personalization of the optional, and dynamically injected ads, should be performed by a globally operating ad network to ensure the ad content is locally and perpetually relevant. Magazine content providers should be able to tag their content in sufficient detail so that the ads selected by the ad provider can be tactically placed with high relevance (and exposure worth!) to specific articles. This would be similar to how magazine articles reviewing a specific product often have an ad for the same product on the next page. But with a digital magazine, upon later re-reading the original ad might have been replaced with something advertising the newest model, or perhaps a competitor's model.

    My point is, there is no reason why the original editorial staff or magazine content providers should have to manage the process of replacing and inserting the digital ads. That should be some org that is above them or serves all the magazines and specializes in this business, and can operate competently in more markets so that magazine content can be translated, localized and resold outside of original target market.

    Further, that advertising org should be possible to filter out completely by the premium-paying user so that no ads even enter the picture.

    The digital magazine stand user should be able to select which, if any demographic attributes they are willing to (relatively anonymously) expose to the advertising org, and will be rewarded with a higher or lower discount on the magazine issue price depending on how valuable their filtered profile is for those ad networks.

  • Of course people want digital magazines, that's why web sites are so popular. A digital version that strictly adheres to the limitations of its physical counterpart? Not so much. People want to be able to link to specific pages and message their friends about it, you can't do that so much if there's a cost barrier and you can't reference a specific portion with a URL. People also want to cut and paste, modify, change display settings, etc, but if by "digital magazine" you mean a static display that's as
  • I just feel like who wouldn't want digital magazines? The next best thing is when print comes to life on the apple ipads which will just be amazing

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