For years, all that anybody has been talking about it is the death of the newspaper industry. Over and over we heard about what the world would look like without journalists; about how bloggers did not have the skill, or the resources, to do any actually investigating. On and on it went, with everyone forecasting doom for the entire industry. Well, perhaps those obituaries were just a bit premature.
The publishing industry might have some life in it just yet, in the form of Apple’s Newsstand, which takes apps from major publications and organizes them.
The Newsstand, which was launched just six months ago, now brings in revenue upwards of $70,000 every single day from its top 100 apps, a report by research firm Distomo has found.
Apparently, iPad users are willing to pay for their magazine and newspaper subscriptions to get extra content beyond the paywall. The report shows the NY Times for iPad as one of the highest grossing app in the Newsstand, along with The Daily and The New Yorker Magazine.
Just last week, The New York Times cut the amount of content available to non-subscribers from 20 articles a month to 10 and this new information sheds some extra light on that decision. It seems now that they knew exactly what they were doing when they made that decision: they had to have figured that if people were actually willing to pay for their service, the Times would do better by withholding more content. After all, why give away for free what people are actually willing to pay for? And if the numbers in the Distomo report are any indication, people seem very prepared to do so.
Launching apps on the iPad has certainly been a boon to publications recently thought to be in trouble, like The Times. The Times recently saw a 5% rise in circulation, which Chairman Arthur Sulzberger attributed this to their digital subscriptions.
“Our fourth-quarter results demonstrate the continued focus on building The Times's digital subscription base and developing a new robust consumer revenue stream, while maintaining its significant digital advertising business,” said Sulzberger, Jr.
“In the second half of the year, our digital initiatives also included the launch of the new pay site, BostonGlobe.com, and digital subscription packages at the International Herald Tribune. As of quarter end, paid subscribers to all of the Company's digital subscription packages, e-readers and replica editions totaled about 406,000.”
The number of digital subscribers has now topped 454,000 but not all news is good: the newspaper also saw a nearly 3% decline in revenue. The newspapers seem to have begun to figure out how to adapt themselves to new media. Now all they have to do is turn it into profit.
Neither the Daily or the New Yorker responded to our request for comment.
(Image source: digital-edition.net)