NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- GQ's iPhone versions of regular print editions seem to be getting a foothold with paying consumers, according to results released for the first time today by Conde Nast.
Since GQ's December "Men of the Year" issue debuted as a $2.99 iPhone app in mid-November, it has sold 6,641 times. The January issue's app, however, has sold for $2.99 more than 12,000 times, Conde Nast said.
Pretending Apple didn't take a cut, that's still less than $60,000 in the pockets of Conde Nast, a rounding error at the consumer magazine giant. And by comparison, GQ's December issue sold 240,000 copies at newsstand and was delivered to another 667,851 print subscribers.
But the app's sales figures are still encouraging for Conde Nast and for print publishers in general, less than a week before Apple seems likely to introduce a tablet computer. Conde Nast President-CEO Charles Townsend has said that the app platform it has developed is mainly a way to get in position to play on tablets.
Four of the biggest magazine publishers, including Conde Nast, have already partnered with News Corp. on a joint venture to build a storefront where readers can buy digital editions of regular magazine issues. The storefront will sell versions for all kinds of devices, from iPhones to ereaders, but tablets are clearly the great hope for many print publishers.
Magazines and newspapers, after all, have so far mostly suffered at the hands of digital media, which has often delivered lots of freeloading web surfers but relatively little ad revenue and usually zero circulation revenue. Publishers think consumers will be willing to pay for digital editions of print editions that are tailored and enhanced for beautiful tablet computers.
And the ad picture looks better for these editions than on the web as well. Already the GQ app, which Hearst Magazines soon followed with an Esquire app, counts toward the circulation guarantees that magazines give advertisers. And Conde today said readers are spending as much time and generally engaging with the app versions of GQ as much as they do with print editions.
Repeat readers will start getting a price break on new app versions of GQ, Conde said today, paying just $1.99 instead of $2.99 starting with the March issue. The company is evaluating subscription pricing, it said.