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The Magazine vs. the App

  |  June 7, 2013   |  Comments

Does cross-platform authentication hurt or help growth?

For years, digital magazine providers have built unique selling propositions based on the platforms they support. For example, my company supports everything from the PC to the new Windows 8 platforms. Other companies have built unique selling points around availability on the BlackBerry platform; others still focus on airplane access. And the list goes on. The justification for unique access by provider is basic. It requires a tremendous amount of attention to detail, funds, and technology integration in order to create native apps by operating system.

Providers want to provide the absolute best experience to their app users. They work for months designing an exceptional user interface (UI) and flow. By the time they get to market they are proud to have created an exceptional experience. This helps set them apart from other digital magazine providers.

While this has been standard in the technology space, a few months ago the tide changed. Progressive magazine publishers started to feel that their readers should have the ultimate choice. They started to ask for "cross-platform authentication" - which is the ability for a reader to read their magazine on any platform it is available on, despite the provider.

This change has serious implications for the digital magazine providers. It immediately eliminates unique selling propositions and creates a challenge to justify why a reader should subscribe from your platform versus others.

For publishers, this change should speed engagement and readership. Publishers don't need to worry about platform barriers (e.g., iPad issues cannot be read on an Android).

For digital magazine technology providers, it could hurt business. Many providers make a portion of revenue off of subscriptions. Now, a reader can buy on platform A and read on platform B.

For the magazine developer itself, it is a bet. On the one hand, the magazine may make more money by increasing access and thus, increasing ad revenue. On the other hand, the magazine may make less money, as in the past consumers would buy a print subscription and a digital subscription (or two) depending on which device they have.

So the question is: Does cross-platform authentication help or hurt magazines as we move into the future?

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Jeanniey Mullen

Jeanniey Mullen, a recognized women-in-business and tech, is known for her entrepreneurial style and her ability to build, shape, and grow brands into well-known dominant, successful entities. Jeanniey is a pioneer in email, mobile, and digital marketing; publishing; and brand-building. She now leads her own agency, YellowBean LLC, focused on assisting companies of all sizes with driving innovation and growth. Most recently, Jeanniey was the Global EVP, CMO, and subsequently Chief Growth Officer for Zinio, where she worked to define and implement strategies creating explosive growth through strategic partnerships with publishers, technology companies, brands, and consumers during her five-year tenure. Jeanniey has authored and contributed to multiple books, blogs, and magazine articles. She is a regular columnist for ClickZ, a blogger for Huffington Post, and a frequent keynote speaker. A serial networker, in 2005 Jeanniey founded the Email Experience Council, which was sold to the Direct Marketing Association in 2008. She sits on the Advisory Board for IndieFlix, and on the International Executive Council of the Internet Marketing Association. Jeanniey is recognized as both a Top CMO and Top Author on Twitter, and was most recently featured as Mover and Shaker by the Professional Woman's Magazine, and a featured Woman in Technology by The Legacy Series Magazine.

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