Publishers turning sour on Apple Newsstand

It was supposed to be a boon for electronic magazines, but according to Digiday, “Publishers Want Out of Apple’s Newsstand Jail“.

Newsstand is the in-iOS platform that allows publishers, from the Economist to GQ, to upload their latest editions and levy a subscription from readers via Apple. However, as Digiday suggests, some publishers are now falling out of love with the service.

Part of the problem is behavioural, whereby publishers feel as though users aren’t prompted toward the latest issues. The recent launch of iOS 8, Digiday argues, fails to address this; users have been left in the dark about new content since upgrading to iOS 7 in June 2013.

Digiday quote Alan Fleishman, owner the The Magazine, as saying:

I heard at least 100 times from readers since iOS 7 came out that they unsubscribed because they could not remember to read us since our cover icon no longer appeared on the Newsstand icon on their home screen

This sentiment is echoed by Vidya Gopel, director of digital marketing and membership at National Geographic:

The challenge is engagement. Readers are subscribing, but then they forget to come back

To compound this problem, Newsstand is also facing criticism about how it favours some publications over others.

Curtus Curth, senior digital commerce manager at Mental Floss and The Week, told Digiday that “Unless you’re featured by Apple, it’s very, very hard to get noticed.”

He added:

“Users either search the title they want or wade through broad categories. I think there’s great opportunity to treat this almost like a real-life newsstand for browsers”

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