Someone Once Said There Are More Important Things Than Being Right
May 8, 2012 by Marcus Grimm
Over at the Technology Review, Jason Pontin is writing about his publication’s own failures with apps. His points are mostly spot-on, but the problem is that his pub had to learn their lessons the hard way. He writes that they spent more than $120,000 to sell fewer than 300 digital magazine subscriptions. Wow. Simply, wow.
Here’s the thing: Readership is fracturing today. Your readers are going in a hundred different directions and none of us know where they are all going, but we do need to chase them. Spending that kind of money on one outlet is like the guy who drops $100 on a 20-1 shot to win at the track.
Adding a Nxtbook app to your digital edition strategy? That’s like spending $3 on a 2-1 pick to show. You won’t win a lot, but you’ll be hard-pressed to lose money, too.
Perhaps we shouldn’t be too surprised that Pontin’s effort have failed. After all, he writes this:
"Digital replicas of print newspapers and magazines (which could be read inside Web browsers or proprietary software like Adobe PDF readers) had never been popular with readers; but publishers reasoned that replicas were unpleasant to read on desktop computers and laptops."
This type of quote shows that Pontin has missed out on quite a few successes in the digital edition space, so losing 120k on something we would’ve told him to invest 95% less on doesn’t come as much of a shock to us.