Digital magazines and newspapers have long fallen victim to the replica syndrome that once plagued ebooks. As mere digital copies of the print original, these versions simply weren’t taking advantage of all that the technology had to offer. But thanks to the development of magazine apps, embedded videos and hyperlinks, and other branches of digital formatting, digital magazines are seeing an upswing in consumer response.
While digital replicas are still a viable option for certain titles, more and more publishers are exploring the options that wholly digital issues can offer. As reported last week, some publishers are even considering the merits of a separate cover for a digital edition, rather than a “shrink it and pixelate it” version of the print cover. These print covers were meant to shout out to consumers from the newsstand, where a digital cover can be far more informative and interactive.
In an article by Seb Joseph for TheDrum.com, the statistics demonstrate the popularity and reactions to stand-alone digital concepts from magazine publishers.
“Digital circulation rose in the last six months of 2014, up 89 per cent period-on-period. The dramatic rise is due to the number of brands that reported digital editions in the period increased to 215 from 92 last summer.
“Many percentage increases that at first glance seem clear winners, on closer inspection only represent a small number of issues downloaded due to the small base. Of those brands that had reported digital numbers for both periods, a fifth (45 ) saw declines, a trend indicative of the multitude of ways people are now consuming content from their favourite magazines.
“The Economist continues to lead in digital growth, with a huge jump of 129 per cent over the last six months in the UK.”
One of the key drivers of innovation in digital publishing has been the demands of advertisers for metrics on how readers engage with their ads. Digital publishing solutions providers have been able to demonstrate this engagement with user data. Another force behind the wider adoption of digital titles has been the abundance of tablet or device based reading options provided by subscription apps like PressReader or Zinio; these models have allowed consumers and organizations alike to offer the value-added feature of unlimited reading for a low monthly fee.