Are Magazine Apps Dead?

David Jacobs: Next year — about the same. Maybe a 1.5x or 2x growth, with a few new hits by start-ups and established players alike. Hopefully a couple of our titles will be in the mix, but I think folks like Offline Magazine and the team at Glide are going to be pushing new titles as well.   If you think of the watershed apps, very few of them were anything considered replica. There are huge video games that are similar to the big Xbox & Playstation hits of the last decade, but the biggest hits are built with the iPhone in mind – touch-focused interface, playable in short bursts, quickly addictive.

The same is true for albums like Beyoncé’s — a launch like hers (with videos for every song) wouldn’t have been possible with iTunes. She just couldn’t have pressed & shipped 10M DVDs without people getting a sniff of it. And I think we’re beginning to see the same sort of “on-line-first” release with TV and movies now as well. That’s possibly the best analogy to magazines. The DVD market was enormous (and still is), but all of the exciting art is happening in serialized dramas that are basically produced to be consumed later — not when and where it’s aired.  

Mario García: A year from now? Perhaps we’ll see more of the multimedia storytelling (à la Snow Fall) that some newspapers are exploring come to magazine apps.”  

Joe Zeff: The next generation of digital publications shifts control from the publisher to the consumer, allowing the consumer to determine what content they want and how and when they want to consume it. It’s time to rip the covers off of traditional magazines and deliver a la carte publications with a la carte advertising. Apps for phones and tablets can more readily access personal information than browsers, and that makes them a worthwhile platform for innovation.

Personalized magazines combine content from all over through plug-and-play APIs — magazines, television, social feeds, Nest thermostats, Fitbit trackers, and bank statements. They are always in the right place at the right time, helping me to work, shop, decide and play. Done right, they become inextricable.   Whether that happens one or five years from now remains to be seen. But we need to keep moving in that direction in order to get there. We can’t and shouldn’t stop now.  

Jeremy Leslie: I’d love to be able to respond positively here, but I think we’re closer to the “remember when we thought apps might be the saviour of publishing” reunion roundtable. And perhaps someone will bring a first gen iPad that hasn’t been synced for three years, and we can view those original Wired apps.

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