Last year, my favorite local magazine store shut down. It didn’t surprise me, but it did devastate me. In 2011, one of my city’s most popular local music newspapers went out of business. It isn’t difficult to see the signs. The 2011 documentary “Page One” symbolized what the rest of the media world was feeling. Traditional jurnalism is dying. It is being replace by the Internet.
Enter the iPad.
When the iPad first launched, some in the media world were looking to it as the savior of the publication industry. The hope was that, if consumers want information delivered in a digital format, why not sell it to them on a tablet instead of giving it away for free?
Over the past three years, you can’t say that the iPad saved media, but you can say that it has helped sustain some publishers who may have suffered through this difficult transition in technology. Some publishers even successfully launched iPad-only magazines.
Today, Hearst Magazine announced that it has hit a milestone with one million digital subscribers across the tablet market. Hearst, which publishes magazines such as O, Food Network Magazine, Popular Mechanics, and Cosmopolitan, recently told AllThingsD that the company hoped to reach the one million mark by December of 2012. The goal may be a few months late, but it is still a milestone.
This is evidence that consumers want digital periodicals. According to AppleInsider, iPad users have spent approximately $70,000 per day on Newsstand content. Magazine publishers didn’t even have a means to offer subscriptions to consumers through iTunes until June of 2011.
Hearst’s announcement today is a sign of good things to come. As consumers come to accept digital media for its periodical reading, publishers begin to accept the change in format. Maybe you can teach an old dog new tricks.