In just a few months at the end of 2011, something big happened in the digital news market which made sales of magazines and newspapers soar. UK magazine publishers Future saw their tablet magazine revenues reach a staggering $1 million in just one month. Popular Science+ magazine publishers saw sales rocket with 3,900 subscriptions sold and 3,200 single copies sold in 6 days and Conde Nast, the publishers responsible for Vogue, GQ Style and Easy Living saw subscriptions jump 268% and their single copy sales rise by 142% in two weeks.
So what was it that made such an impact on the digital news sales during that time? The release of the Apple newsstand.
A new feature for iOS 5.0, similar to iBooks, that groups your online magazine and newspaper subscriptions and displays them in one easy to use folder that will automatically update itself with new issues (and front covers) when they become available. The application also gives the option to buy and browse different magazines with the tap of a button.
When first released the immediate rise in online magazine ad newspaper subscriptions was huge and its now thought that Newsstand already generates over $70,000 daily from the top 100 US publications.
Newsstand however is not the only or the first of its kind and has arrived into an interesting marketplace. Zinio is an online news organisation folder which works in a similar way to Newsstand but is available across all platforms, immediately giving it a bigger market base and therefore advantage over Apples version. Zinio released impressive statistics claiming that 120 million people received a Zinio powered magazine in the past year and 5 million enjoy free articles each month through Zinio's explore section. Google play has also moved into the same market allowing users to buy magazine subscriptions. As well as these two big competitors for Apple, a new french app, Lekiosk has also recently launched in the UK. Offering subscriptions to around 100 titles from publishers, it already claims to be on approximately one in four iPads in france and is the highest grossing app in the french app store.
With online newspapers and magazines not showing signs of slowing down anytime soon, it will be interesting to see how the different applications move forward and fight for users.