Anyone who has looked at subscription prices for digital magazines may have had this thought: Why isn’t there a way to subscribe to them all at once? After all, who reads every story in every magazine anyway? Well, for all those people, there is Next Issue. Next Issue is a one-stop subscription app for all the magazines that are fit to be read – and maybe some that not worth the digital ink from which they’re printed? (We desperately need some new terminology for the digital age.) In any case, for either a $9.99 or $14.99 monthly subscription, Android and iPad owners get unlimited access to 72 magazines published by the app’s creators. From Esquire to Golf Digest, to Sports Illustrated to Oprah and Vanity Fair, they’re all available under one subscription. By now 70,000 people have subscribed to the app with 60 percent of them receiving the premium edition that gives access to Entertainment Weekly, The New Yorker and Time.
For now the Next Issue app shows a digital form of the physical magazine rack that we’re used to. The faces of all the magazines appear and we determine what we want to read. However, digital is not the same as physical and it remains to be seen where this app is headed. One of the big “issues” is sharing not just individual magazines but across genres. A physical magazine can pass from hand to hand before arriving at its final resting place in your doctor’s office. A digital edition doesn’t go there. Even in a single household, the demographic for Teen Vogue is slightly different from those who read Car & Driver, or those who read Real Simple. Meanwhile, Next Issue operates on the business model where competing publishers share revenue based on how much time a reader spends on each magazine. Great deal if lots of readers consume only one magazine, but not so good when readers sample bits and pieces of many magazines.