Netrags

A1011x300A service modeled after Netflix is about to potentially revolutionize the magazine-publishing industry. According to CNBC “Media Money” columnist Julia Boorstin:

“Time Inc. has an answer to the Netflix generation—it’s called Maghound and it launches in September. You pay a monthly fee and can mitch and max [sic] subscriptions from a range of titles. It seems like a great way to try new magazines or load up before a slew of plane trips—unlike regular magazine subscriptions you can cancel whenever you want and you aren’t locked into the magazines you pick. You can get three titles for $3.95 per month, five for $7.95, and seven for $9.95. The company is expected to have 300 magazine titles participating by the launch, 400 by the end of the year.”

I’m not sure how I feel about this, as a magazine editor myself. My initial thought is that it could be great in the short term, but I think my industry’s real problem is that we have moved too heavily into the subscription model in the U.S. Most publishers deliver magazines at cost or less; magazines have become devalued. The newsstand model is a more effective way to keep magazines’ values up. Until print disappears entirely…

Of course, the newsstand model does not benefit gay publications, which may not find welcome shelves in many areas. And magazine distribution in America needs an overhaul, too—currently, distributors squeeze a prohibitive amount of cash out of publishers, and you’re happy to sell 30% of your run. The waste is obscene.

Would you try a service like Maghound?

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Comments

  1. Chas says

    I’m not really into print media anymore (please don’t hate me M-RETT!), so no, I wouldn’t try something like Maghound. I get 90% of my media content from the internet.

  2. says

    Sounds great to me! I never find the time to go magazine shopping, but I don’t want to get locked in with subscriptions either. When I do find the time to hit the newsstand, I usually pick up four or five mags and it costs $30, so if I can get them for $8-10 a month, that sounds fantastic.

  3. thin mint says

    No, I wouldn’t buy it.

    I think the death of magazines is going to be, and needs to be, more brutal.

    At the moment, high-end professional media providers have a difficult time getting or keeping exclusive content partly because print magazines are so readily available. People like Perez and communities like ONTD can just pick up a copy of a magazine, scan it and put it on line — getting the benefits of all the magazine’s production budget for the price of a single copy and a bit of server space.

    If the magazine industry as a whole makes the shift to online content, it will be much more difficult for the scavenger sites to support themselves off its product, and companies will be in a better position to profit off their own work.

    At the moment, publishers are caught between two models of content delivery, and I think that’s what’s screwing them up so bad.

  4. says

    True, Thin Mint, and in fact every time an image appears online without permission/payment, that is the same thing as a song being stolen and yet publishers don’t see it that way. Instead, we continue to pay top dollar to agencies for images that have already been seen by anyone even remotely enterprising with Internet access. I do think print is in its death throes. People constantly tell me that there will ALWAYS be books, ALWAYS be magazines, because some people love that tactile aspect. But how long until those people die out, replaced by other people with no experience other than digital?

  5. Sasha says

    Personally, I think this sounds amazing – I’m sorry they don’t have it in the UK, where I am. I’ve never really got round to committing to a subscription to one single magazine, but if I had the opportunity to mix and match, I would definitely try it, at least for a while. If there’s anything that could get me into subscribing to a magazine, it’s something like this.

    I want to say what a great job you’re doing, Matthew, by the way, I really like your writing and the stories you’ve highlighted!

  6. xavier says

    Hey I think this is a great idea. Rarely do I have time to read every single issue of a magazine, which is why I have been reluctant to subscribe. I think this gives people like me the flexibility to read what we want when we want and have the time to do so. I probably will use this service especially before a big trip

  7. Chad says

    Yes, people still buy magazines, and some, like Paris Vogue, will never be substituted for an online version, as it is almost like an art book. Paris Vogue, British Vogue, Australian Vogue, Russian Vogue, as well as L’umo Vogue and the other men’s mags I’m addicted to. Yeah, I’m a (magazine) whore.

  8. Jake says

    Gossip magazines just have a bleak future they can’t keep up with the bloggers but they can’t compete online either. As for my addiction to fashion magazines no way would I just want to view them online I want a super glossy masterpiece in my hands. Plus I read them in the bath and I’m not risking a drowned apple mac.

  9. Jake says

    Gossip magazines just have a bleak future they can’t keep up with the bloggers but they can’t compete online either. As for my addiction to fashion magazines no way would I just want to view them online I want a super glossy masterpiece in my hands. Plus I read them in the bath and I’m not risking a drowned apple mac.

  10. MeHere says

    Can these prices be right? The 3 copy subscription works out to $0.98 an issue, but the 5 and 7 copy models are $1.59 and $1.42.

    Actually, $1 is exactly what I’d be willing to pay per copy.

  11. MEHERE says

    Slight mistake. 3 copies work out to $1.31 each. But my point is the same, that buying more doesn’t save you money under this pricing model. Which is fine with me.

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