How a niche publisher migrated a print title to ipad

Niche magazine publishers are experimenting with tablet and iPad editions all over the place, but most are consumer specialist and are considering their tablet magazine as an additional revenue stream to their print subscriptions.  I was quite impressed, therefore, to find an independent b2b publisher that not only had launched a free b2b app that was wholly ad-funded, but was seriously considering moving completely to that channel and dropping print.  Oh, and he developed the app in-house. You can read more about Sam Spurdens and LOOP digital media in this article about the 2012 Media Pioneers.  But in this article I wanted to analyse why this move works for him – and could be worth consideration by other niche publishers.

1. Audience of early adopters

The crucial question to ask your current readers is how many have ipads or tablets, or plan to purchase them soon.  Sam discovered that 37% of his audience had iPads already, and 90% of them wanted to read their magazine on  tablet.

2. International market

If your content could potentially appeal to an international market, then the app stores are an easy way to test the interest.  50% of LOOP’s P1 ipad edition downloads have been from the US and 11% from Asia.  He’s now looking at Chinese and Russian language editions to extend his reach.

3. Advertisers who want an international market

The aviation industry is global, and the new readers P1 acquired through the iPad are appealing to key advertisers.  In fact the iPad edition has helped a small UK based publisher tap into global ad budgets.

4. Ability to create interactive content in house

LOOP has a history of creating video content for the web, so already had the skills in-house to produce compelling editorial for the tablet version of their magazine and help their advertisers to create interactive ads.  Having learnt how to create the app edition in-house, the editorial team now have the confidence to experiment and try out new formats to keep their readers engaged and their advertisers interested.

5. Willingness to migrate print readers and advertisers

Sam knew he wanted to actively switch print readers to the tablet edition, so had no qualms about promoting his iPad magazine to susbcribers.    He also realised that some print advertisers wouldn’t want to reach a global audience and didn’t have the resources to create interactive ads, but calculated that the revenues lost in print would be greatly outweighed by accessing the global marketing budgets of larger advertisers.

If you are a b2b publisher experimenting with iPad do please  share your experiences below, or join the Specialist Media Network on Linked-in to swap ideas and network with over 700 other specialist media professionals.

The Media Pioneer Awards recognise innovative and entrepreneurial activity by specialist media businesses.  Shortlisted businesses are profiled on the Specialist Media Show site.  Winners are announced at the Specialist Media Show.  The 2012 Media Pioneer Awards are open for nominations now.  Read about the 2011 winners here.

About the author:  Carolyn Morgan runs Penmaen Media, a consultancy advising niche publishers on their digital strategy.  Read what past clients say about their work here.  Carolyn also runs the Specialist Media Show, moderates the Specialist Media Network on Linked-in and writes and speaks regularly for trade publications and c onferences on the challenge of digital publishing.  Follow Carolyn on twitter @carolynrmorgan.  If you’d like to discuss how to develop a digital strategy for your niche publication, please get in touch for a no-obligation discussion.

Related articles:  ten reasons niche publishers should experiment with iPad