First, people rejoiced that the iPad would save the magazine industry*. No less!
Now, a few months later, the very same people despair : downloads have decreased, it's the end!
Let's be patient. What do we really know, what can we say?
- According to the Audit Bureau of Circulation (ABC) which certifies the distribution, the number of downloaded magazines has dropped. From 100,000 for the first issue to 23,000 in December for Wired. Vanity Fair, Glamour, GQ (Condé Nast), Mens Health (Rodale) downloads are down too, about 20%.
- With paper magazines it has always been the same: from launch to next isssue, there is always a serious fall before circulation levels out. With the iPad the same rule applies.
It is only later that we will know if these first readers keep buying - or if they buy an issue only once in a while, depending on the content, or if they stop buying altogether. And after the New Year, new buyers will come and numbers could bump back.
The business model is not yet stable, negotiations with Apple / iTunes are still continuing. What about subscriptions, for instance? Right now, readers still have to buy their magazine issue after issue and there is no discount for print edition subscribers.
Let's not judge so soon. Analyst and journalists tend to jump to conclusions too quickly. Marketing people should not: they have other responsabilities.
*We do not see how. Cf. in French: about the press and the iPad.