Major publishers' Netflix-like service for magazines has arrived on the iPad, putting the industry in a position to finally find out whether an all-you-can-read digital offering will help win new readers and encourage overall consumption.
The service, which comes via an app from Next Issue Media, has been on certain Android devices since April, but iPad availability will dramatically expand its reach. The app, which also sells individual subscriptions and individual issues, has fewer than 15,000 regular users so far.
Next Issue Media declined to say how many subscribers the unlimited plan has accumulated.
Next Issue Media is a joint venture of Time Inc., Conde Nast, Hearst, Meredith and News Corp., formed in December 2009 to build a digital storefront for print. The members of the venture now hope that a Netflx-style plan will help find new readers and encourage overall magazine consumption.
"I see no indication right now that this is anything but a lot of blue sky," said Morgan Guenther, CEO of Next Issue Media.
The venture plans a marketing push later this year to encourage adoption and gift subscriptions. It also plans to make its tablet editions and the unlimited service available on the forthcoming Windows 8 platform, to invite in publishers from outside the venture and to bring advertising into the app.
An unlimited subscription to participating monthly and biweekly magazines costs $9.99 per month. The premium version that also includes weeklies costs $14.99 per month. The service offers 39 titles, including Vogue, Wired, Fortune, Time , Popular Mechanics, Elle and Better Homes and Gardens.