The Alliance for Audited Media recently came out with an interesting report on circulation for both physical and digital copies for the magazine industry.
In short, single copy sales of physical products of big titles saw double digit decreases in just one year's time while seeing a 36.7% increase of their digital titles. Of the 386 titles followed, 10.8 million digital replica editions were sold in one year.
The physical versus digital publishing market looks like a snapshot of the music industry, at the time when music started to be legally distributed online. As with the music industry, growing digital sales seems like an oasis in a market where growth in any way shape or form is rare and precious.
While digital sales of all magazines cover “only” 3.5% at this point in time, the opportunity to sell directly to consumers and monetize on advertising which can be highly profiled and customized, seems to be excellent reasons to focus on getting a strong digital replica offering out in the market.
The article speaks only of digital replica because publishers are finding the digital replica the easiest product to monetize on digital. On the other hand, when a product moves away from digital replica, it becomes a new editorial project and is hard to compare to the physical edition. For now, it seems that the only recognized industry standard to measure digital sales of a physical product is with digital replica.
This, of course, is not to say that interactive editions are not being monetized, however this report reminds us that digital replica is the bread and butter for now and that interactive is an interesting exercise and cool way to position your product and company for the future.
In Paperlit we have hundreds of titles (newspapers and magazines) from 20 countries all over the world. We have an extensive panorama of the trends on a global basis and can confirm that markets around the world are showing the same signs everywhere. This is the reason why we suggest to our clients to start with a “keep it simple”, multi-platform approach with digital replicas. While going forward on a step by step basis, you can create more sophisticated products when the time is right and the market is big enough to support the extra work and costs necessary to build beautiful, interactive products.
At Paperlit, we support the entire process from a simple digital replica (e.g. National Review) via hybrid app (e.g. Posta eGazete) into pure interactive apps with .folio files (e.g. You Tech Magazine). When we explain this concept to our clients, we call it a future proof or a tech safe strategy!