Ever since the iPad was introduced, magazines have looked to it as a savior. The big titles have rushed out tablet editions in the hopes the iPad would point the way to a sustainable digital business model that mixes subscription revenue with print-like ads at print-like prices.
The results have been mixed. Ad Age recently reported
that Conde Nast, an ardent early supporter of the iPad, is slowing down its production of iPad editions. The publishing giant is not abandoning its efforts by any stretch, only taking a more considered approach to its strategy, according to execs.
It’s still not a great sign. VivaKi chief innovation officer Rishad Tobaccowala has some tough words for magazine publishers
in a new post. He argues that not only will the iPad and other tablets not save their businesses, they will actually hasten their demise. Publishers have gone about it all wrong Tobaccowala argues.
It is time to recognize that there is a new mindset for digital magazines as shown by Flipboard and others and it is not just porting over printed content with some multi media add-ons and the ability to retweet and share. The future does not fit the containers of the past. The magazine is a great way to bundle things in print but a magazine on a tablet is just not going to make it.
Tobaccowala, who has consulted with publishers when he headed digital consultancy Denuo, goes on to give several pieces of advice to publishers. One noteworthy suggestion: stop trying to do so much tech in house and partner with tech companies that don’t have the scale old media still brings to the table.