MediaPost’s MoBlog has an interesting article up looking at the new revenue models free apps present, and it’s more than ad revenue. But what’s most interesting to me is the potential this lower production cost channel has for reviving a fast dying medium: magazines.
While I don’t believe all the hubbub around print media dying, it’s clear that lower yield publications are fast going the way of the Dodo. Print costs are rising and ad revenue is shrinking, meaning a lot of great content is being squeezed out. That is, until now.
Gourmet magazine, for instance, has found new life in the app world. According to MoBlog (quoting paidContent), “The Gourmet Live app will be free to download but will monetize social media consumption with game-like features for earning virtual currency (modeled after apps on Facebook and other social platforms) by recruiting friends and sharing articles and recipes. Condé Nast will also try other revenue models with the app, including membership and some sponsorship.”
This means there may be a solid business justification for dusting off other magazines that have folded. The trick seems to be finding the balance of free and “premium” paid content; relevant utility (perfect for cooking publications or skilled trade pubs); social media integration (perfect for niche publications); and rich media (perfect for entertainment and general interest publications—like, say, Life magazine).
Henry Luce would be all over this.