When the Apple iPad burst onto the scene, everyone wanted to get dedicated magazine apps built for their company. It often provided a solid experience if you were in love with a particular magazine. Some of them added bonus content, like Wired, that gives extended interviews and video of hot new devices. The Apple Newsstand tends to be the largest draw when it comes to purchasing content, but in 2013 many companies will see a diminishing user-base and give up on the apps altogether.
When you purchase magazines from the Apple Newsstand or the App store, you are not buying the magazine as you know it. They are all, in effect, apps. The Apple Newsstand simply puts them in one place, where in the past they cluttered up your iPad or iPhone. Magazine publishers are able to garner a large percentage of revenue earned per subscription, but many aren’t doing so well. Just ask the recently defunct Daily.
Magazine Apps provide users with only a singular user experience. People in 2012 have been gravitating away from dedicated apps and moving in the direction of aggregators. These are news sources that compile all of the information from various news sources. We have really seen the rise of Flipboard, Pulse, Zite, and Google Currents that take all of your favorite websites, blogs, and news sites and puts them all in one place. People tend to like this direction better because all of the news is produced daily, rather than you having to wait until the end of the month.
In the digital realm, 2013 will be the year in which dedicated magazine apps see their demise. There will always be a market for companies like Zinio and Newspaper Direct that offer many subscriptions within a singular app, but you will see dedicated standalone apps die off. There is no consistency in their user interface and often get muddling and confusing. Apps that function as news aggregators will replace these and you mostly won’t have to pay a dime.
Michael Kozlowski is the Editor in Chief of Good e-Reader. He has been writing about audiobooks and e-readers for the past ten years. His articles have been picked up by major and local news sources and websites such as the CNET, Engadget, Huffington Post and Verge.