Several months after Next Issue Media brought its all-you-can-read digital magazine subscriptions to iPad, the company is expanding to Windows 8 and is working with Microsoft to promote its service. Next Issue’s app will be available not just on Windows 8 tablets like the Surface, but also on desktops, ultrabooks and laptops.
The service offers unlimited access to over 80 magazines on iPad, up from 39 at launch. Users can choose between an “unlimited basic” subscription, which offers access to monthly magazines like Glamour, Wired and Food & Wine for $9.99 per month, and an “unlimited premium” subscription, for $14.99 per month, that also includes weekly titles like People, New York, New Yorker and Sports Illustrated.
Next Issue Media, which started out in 2009 as a joint venture of Condé Nast, Hearst, Time Inc., News Corp and Meredith, was initially only available for Android 3.0 (Honeycomb) tablets before expanding to iPad — and, potentially, a wider audience — last July.
The Windows 8 launch is “the first time we’ve worked closely with a platform partner,” CEO Morgan Guenther told me. The app integrates features like “snap view” and multitasking from Microsoft’s interface; the software giant is also providing marketing and will feature the app in the Windows App store. “We saw the importance of moving beyond the tablet,” Guenther said, and Microsoft was a “motivated partner.”
Next Issue hopes that users will use the platform across devices. A single subscription can be authenticated on up to five devices. “With greater choice as to where, when and how they access their magazines, users can seamlessly switch from their tablet at home, to their Ultrabook on the road, to their company PC,” John Richards, senior director of Windows app marketing for Microsoft, said in a statement.
Discovery remains “an issue” on iPad, Guenther said, partly because the Next Issue iPad app isn’t available through Apple Newsstand. The company projects that by the end of this quarter, it will have about 120,000 total users — 50,000 of whom are actually paying for a subscription. Of that 50,000, about 60 percent have a premium subscription, Guenther said, and 40 percent have a basic subscription. The remaining 70,000 or so users are “authenticators” — users who already have a print subscription to a magazine and are accessing the print version through next Issue’s app.
In the next quarter, Next Issue plans to add Facebook integration and social sharing, followed by the integration of “clipping” technology that would let users virtually save individual articles or images from magazines. Guenther also says the library will expand to about 100 titles in the next couple of months.
Though Next Issue originally launched on Android, that platform hasn’t been much of a priority, Guenther said — to the extent that there are only 36 magazines available, less than half the number of titles available for iPad and Windows 8. In the next few months the company will “refresh” the experience on Android, Guenther said. It also plans to expand to Android smartphones and iPhones.