MediaPublishingThe Magazine vs. the App

The Magazine vs. the App

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?

Image on home page via Shutterstock.

Related Articles

Annoying requests to rate your app are getting you one star ratings. Here's how to fix that

Marketing Annoying requests to rate your app are getting you one star ratings. Here's how to fix that

10m Polly Alluf
Ad blocker use continues to grow rapidly

Ad Industry Metrics Ad blocker use continues to grow rapidly

10m Al Roberts
Mobile ad viewability: what is it and does it matter?

Display Advertising Mobile ad viewability: what is it and does it matter?

1y Andy Favell
Verizon acquires Yahoo's operating business for $4.8 billion

Agency Spotlight Verizon acquires Yahoo's operating business for $4.8 billion

1y Sophie Loras
How the future of advertising is in servicing the 'moment'

Asia How the future of advertising is in servicing the 'moment'

1y Sophie Loras
How the NBA engages China's 200M millennials with mobile video

Asia How the NBA engages China's 200M millennials with mobile video

1y Steven Chang
Why audience retention with mobile video is more important than ever

Mobile Why audience retention with mobile video is more important than ever

2y Frank Sinton
NewFronts News: Merging video, data still the main focus for AOL

Publishing NewFronts News: Merging video, data still the main focus for AOL

2y Mike O'Brien