Dear Time Inc, Hearst, Conde Nast, Here Media, Meredith, and all the rest of the magazine publishers moving to the iPad,
I get almost a dozen magazines delivered to my door and read almost every issue cover to cover, coveting old issues until I have time to go back to them. Conde Nast, Time Inc, Here Media Inc, I am your ideal customer, your fanatic, and the person who said that no matter how thin the issues get and how much the media world suffered, I would always find a way to get my New York and New Yorker on Mondays, as well as another magazine almost every other day of the week. I’m one of the magazine readers that boosts “the average time a person spends with a magazine is 45 minutes” statistic (as well as a bevy of other statistics). I take all your surveys, I renew on time, I talk about your finest articles, and I feel cheated.
Time, Wired, and a few others who have moved to the iPad, you are leaving your subscribers out of your media revolution. Wired Magazine’s June issue has reached the iPad for $4.99 and after they had to go back to the drawing boards because of Flash incompatibility issues, I’m dying to know what it looks like. Not only because I’m a Wired fanatic, but because I care about the future of publishing and want to know what at least a part of the future is becoming.
I do not though, believe that I should have to subscribe to the print version of the magazine and then buy every issue from the app store at newsstand prices. I understand that the app needs to make money and we’re trying to teach people that good journalism is not free. These are important points, but did you completely forget your loyal subscribers when you moved to the iPad? What happened to acknowledging and rewarding the customer who has paid to be a part of your brand for years?
Maybe I’m out of line. Maybe I should have to pay full price for every version of the magazine that I read but I won’t. In my ideal world, when I got my iPad I imagined having the flexibility of a tangible magazine first thing in the morning and last at night, with the portability of access to the same words on my iPad on the go. I imagined that I would be able to enjoy your media property as a full brand experience that just gets better as technology advances.
But now I must choose.
Instead of having me on both sides, reading the magazine like I have for years and then showing off the crisp reading experience of Wired on the iPad to everyone I ever see, I’m frustrated. I’m your loyal fan, your influencer, the customer who will spread word of mouth recommendations to people who trust me, and you just lost me a little bit.
There’s still a chance to change. Email your subscribers a promo code for a certain number of free issues on the iPad, give us a loyal customer benefit for digital/iPad access the magazines we happily pay for in print. Use us to bolster your app download numbers, let us spread your enthusiasm and help you through this tough time. Give us that 360 degree brand experience and value us the way it felt like you did for years. I’m telling you, you’ll keep us forever.
Choose to ignore us though, and you’ll force us to choose. And if it gets to that point we’ll both be losing something important.
Signing off with a hopeful Always,