Magazine article Folio: the Magazine for Magazine Management

Here Comes Mobile. (Digital Editions)

Magazine article Folio: the Magazine for Magazine Management

Here Comes Mobile. (Digital Editions)

Article excerpt

Mobile is clearly where digital publishing is heading, according to Zinio's Rich Maggiotto. Experimentation will continue, though, because no one has yet figured out the right business model for making money in mobile. "I do know one thing for certain," he says. "Giving it away for free is not a business model."

The market saturation of mobile devices is huge, with more than three billion units currently in use worldwide. Given the capabilities of those devices, including e-readers, that are on the market today, suppliers and publishers alike recognize that they're not yet a good fit even for flat print magazine replicas let alone for the rich layout of multimedia digital versions. Magazines publishers use a two-page spread layout to communicate information visually. If you can't view that layout on the mobile device due to the screen size (and, in the case of Amazon's Kindle, it lacks color), the reading experience is not particularly satisfying.

But a surge in mobile delivery of magazines is clearly going to happen. Maggiotto expects some "pretty phenomenal things" to happen over the next 24 months. A lot of companies will be following up with new and different display technologies to compete for market share. And what publisher won't want to tap into such an enormous, involved audience?

Nxtbook Media already has a handful of publishers using its Liberty mobile product, which has been available for a little over a year, but there's not much opportunity right now, admits Marcus Grimm, marketing director. "Usage is low," he says. "It's more about planting your flag in the ground and letting your readers know that you care about the mobile space."

While no one can predict whether people will prefer or even choose to read magazines on mobile devices in the next few years, readers are already being fractured into many different categories. …

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