Newsstand has taken a definite turn for the worse for a handful of niche and small magazine with the news that Leeds-based distributor Native Publisher Services has closed the doors.
As we know from past instances of distributors going under, it’s not just the loss of newsstand sales for forthcoming issues that is the problem, it’s the lost cash for previous months’ sales that can drive smaller publishers to the brink. Distributors are the link between the publisher and the newsstand, so they will typically be holding 60-90 days worth of publishers’ copy sales revenues.
I’m trying to find a list of the titles affected – any information that readers of this blog may have of the magazines Native distributed would be appreciated.
Lots of coverage today for ‘tablet editor-in-chief’ Mike Goldsmith of Future’s announcement that they made $1 million in just over 3 months of launching all 65 of their magazines on Apple’s Newsstand. The key figures are:
- 75,000 subscriptions gained
- 40 percent of orders are for subscriptions
- 9.3 million free container apps downloads
- 8.5 million free issues
- 4.3 million opt-ins for push messages
This has led to general rejoicing all round.
Obviously, it’s unlike me to be curmudgeonly, but let’s have a wee look at these numbers.
- First off – $1million of revenue in 104 days gives us around $3.5 million over a full year. That’s £2.25 million against Future’s revenue last year of £141 million.
- 75,000 subscriptions against 9.3 million downloads is under 1% conversion. If subs are 40% of sales, then total unit sales must be around 200,000, which nudges just over 2% conversion.
- $1 million is just over $15,000 per title on average
- If the total sales are around 200,000, then the average sale value must be around $5 (which, actually, isn’t bad).
Two more points:
Many of the 75,000 subs are short-term and cost only £0.69 regularly, so Goldsmith cautions that subscriber count could go down as well as up and not all subscribers are high-value. [So where is the average $5 value coming from?]
All but three of Future’s iPad titles – T3, Guitarist Deluxe and Tap! – are page-turner magazine replicas. But Goldsmith said: “ If I did a T3 on every one of future’s 65 titles, I’d bankrupt the company. ”
And one quote that we can all agree with:
“Print circulations are declining – we are not going to get them back up – iPad is helping. The genie is out of the bottle, so we need to embrace it.”
Given the breeze blowing in the Channel it’s somehow appropriate that Fast Ferry International has dropped anchor for the final time.
In this case – and in this case only – you are allowed to talk about a ‘perfect storm’.