In Circulation: More magazines go mobile

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Digital magazine publisher Zinio has added 20 titles, including Readers Digest, Elle and Outside, to its iPhone and iPod Touch applications — the latest in a steady of stream of titles being offered to readers on the go. A recent report from BPA showed a 4.5% increase in digital copies from member titles from December 2006 to December 2007. Two hundred and twenty-four BPA members now offer digital editions MPA concurrently reported that 65 digital initiatives for magazines kicked off in the first quarter of 2008.

“We believe that the entire publishing industry is on the verge of entering a golden age, where it's really at the tipping point of moving from mainly paper-based publications into digital format,” said Jeanniey Mullen, CMO of Zinio. “While digital has been around for a number of years, consumer adoption has never grown to mass amounts. Now consumers are more mobile and can take content with them on mobile devices, and we see that as a key turning point.”

“It is great for the brand to be available to consumers who are more comfortable with digital delivery,” added Eva Dillon, president and group publisher, Reader's Digest. “The numbers are still small when compared to our print circulation (8 million rate base) but we are keeping an eye on all digital developments as a cost efficient way to broaden our base.”  

The 2008 Digital Magazine Reader Survey, conducted by digital magazine provider Texterity and Mediamark Research & Intelligence, further revealed that, though computers remain readers' favorite way of accessing digital editions, mobile devices are gaining ground. In less than a year since its release, the iPhone has won 6% of the vote as a favorite access point. Texterity offers more than 600 magazine titles on the iPhone.

“We believe mobile is going to be very critical,” declared Cimarron Buser, SVP of marketing and business development for Texterity Inc. “Right now, we're at the early adopter stage, but the good news is the iPhone has really been a huge leap forward, and in the short period of time it's been out, it's changed awareness levels because it has a nice display and a good browser.”

Buser went on to explain that digital magazines — whether accessed on a PC or a mobile reader — deliver multiple direct marketing opportunities, from search engine optimization to lead generation.

Though it shows promise, mobile is still being approached with caution by many circ marketers. Mullen said that Zinio will be gathering feedback from early adopters of its mobile editions and will use the application as a learning experience.

Paul Rolnick, consumer marketing director at Outside magazine, agreed, “We're in the initial stages, and it's very exploratory. Like a lot of companies, we want to introduce our content to our audience on whatever platform they want to avail themselves of, so we're expanding our offerings beyond print to a variety of digital platforms.

“Mobile is an important and growing platform, particularly for our form of media,” he added. “Among the digital platforms, we think it's one of the fastest growth opportunities, and the technology of the iPhone makes it very appealing and exciting.”

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