Revisiting “A Netflix for X”

Writing at Folio:, Bill Mickey reports that Next Issue Media (NIM) has announced an “all you can access” plan for a total of 32 magazines published by four of its five parent companies (Time Inc., Meredith, Hearst and Conde Nast).

Readers will be able to access digital versions of 27 non-weekly titles for $10 a month. Five weekly titles can be obtained digitally for an additional $5 a month. At least for the moment, part-owner News Corp (a limited fan of digital) has yet to contribute a title.

Mickey reports that the service expects that it will continue to offer mass-market publications:

“More titles are expected to be added later in the year, but NIM says it will maintain a more curatorial approach to selection. The focus will be on magazines that have mass appeal, rather than going for catalog depth.”

It will be interesting to see how effectively Next Issue Media can sell access to mass-market titles, many of whom have cut subscription prices to maintain print rate bases. It could be that digital access provides a convenience that resists price comparisons.

Toward the end of the article, Mickey raises another question: how to divide royalties:

“Just thinking about how the royalty breakdown under this plan will work out among the five publishers—and those that may join in the coming months—is enough to give you a headache. The concept is clearly a no-brainer for customers, but how publishers will divvy up each monthly fee is unclear.”

The folks at Next Issue Media might try talking with Safari Books Online, the joint venture O’Reilly operates in partnership with Pearson. If you struggle with the idea of a book publisher schooling the largest magazine publishers in the United States, Safari Online has been offering “subscription access to thousands of online books and training videos from dozens of the world’s most trusted publishers” for the last decade, divvying up use-driven royalties to publishers and authors alike.

About Brian O'Leary

Founder and principal of Magellan Media Consulting, Brian O’Leary helps enterprises with media and publishing components capitalize on the power of content. A veteran of more than 30 years in the publishing industry and a prolific content producer himself, Brian leverages the breadth and depth of his experience to deliver innovative content solutions.