New Yorker iPad App Has 20,000 Subscribers
At least one demographic in the digital age appears willing to pay for journalism: readers of the New Yorker magazine. The text-heavy bastion of in-depth, long-form print journalism has 20,000 subscribers to its iPad app and 75,000 print subscribers who have downloaded the app, according to the New York Times. The iPad subscription costs $59 per year, meaning that, in terms of the current magazine business climate, the New Yorker is making a lot of money (about $1 million so far) from its foray into the tablet market.
No one seems more surprised than other journalism outlets. As the New York Times notes, the magazine's web strategy has never been flashy. Its website is comparatively light on graphics. As the Times article notes, the app essentially just presents the reader with the text of its famously long articles. However, the New Yorker seems to know its audience. It also helps that its audience, in general, has money to spend on journalism:
One apparent reason for The New Yorker’s success with the iPad is that the magazine has the right demographics. IPad users tend to inhabit households with annual income of more than $100,000, much like readers of The New Yorker. Research from comScore shows that all iPad users read news on the device more than they seek out entertainment like videos and games.
But the New Yorker’s popularity with iPad users could also say something about the experience people desire on the devices. Whether the glossy magazines that are Condé Nast’s specialty — those full of highly stylized photo shoots and sleekly designed page layouts — are something people prefer to view in print remains to be seen.
“I do think there is a really large dynamic of people who are interested in reading, actually reading, on an iPad,” Mr. Lipsman said.
The New Yorker's success in the internet environment shouldn't be too surprising. Though much of its online content still hides behind a paywall, it's content that people appear to be willing to pay for. The hunger for in-depth journalism has given rise to aggregators such as Longreads.com and Longform.org. The New Yorker's web site won a 2011 Webby award.