Can A New Netflix-Like Service Save Magazine Industry?


The magazine business has been searching for a solution. Sure putting content online helps grow ad revenue. But some people do still like flipping those glossy pages. With more and more people shifting their reading online, how do you grow the sale of physical magazines.

Time Inc. has an answer tailored to the Netflix generation--it's called Maghound and it launches in September. You pay a monthly fee and can mitch and max subscriptions from a range of titles. It seems like a great way to try new magazines or load up before a slew of plane trips--unlike regular magazine subscriptions you can cancel whenever you want and you aren't locked into the magazines you pick. You can get three titles for $3.95 per month, five for $7.95, and seven for $9.95. The company is expected to have 300 magazine titles participating by the launch, 400 by the end of the year.

I can imagine using it-- I like not being locked into any commitments and it could be fun to try out magazines that are hard to find in ordinary airport newsstands. And it can make sense from a practical perspective. While working on some home construction I'd sign up for all interior design magazines for a few months.

Now I'm working on the garden, and it'd be easier to make a switch to Garden Design online than driving to a newsstand. And once the plants are all planted I'd like to get the cooking mags like Bon Appetit, so I can entertain. The content still has to be compelling -- true no matter what format you're reading in -- but this could be a good way for Time Inc. and other publishers to hook more younger readers.

Questions? Comments?