Zinio Guest Post: The More Things Change…

by Jeanniey Mullen

Change. It seems like the last year has brought more change to mobile apps and the digital publishing space than the previous ten years combined. At the company where I work, Zinio, we have watched our entire world change as we grew to 5,500 magazines and moved from desktop into PCs, iPads, smartphones and eBooks.

If you’re reading this, it’s a safe bet to say that your reading habits have changed significantly over the past year. Pew Research claims digital media is now the second most popular way to get news. More people reported getting news from online and mobile sites than from radio or print newspapers. This year, for the first time, 100% of publishers will format content for mobile, according to an Alliance for Audited Media survey of 210 media companies in North America. The development points to the importance of digital publishing as well as the overwhelming change that readers have demanded.

Digital content is truly available anytime and anywhere and App users know it. Publishers get it at varying degrees. Hearst (Elle, House Beautiful, O) now reports that smaller tablet sizes have finally moved to digital subscriptions on their biggest titles. In fact 40 percent of its traffic is mobile. But maybe the most high-profile change has come from the oldest magazine in America: The Atlantic.

The Atlantic has long-embraced mobile apps. In fact it has adapted its content packages extremely well for online, print, and then mobile. It’s 155 years old. But its latest redesign announced on Feb. 21, shows a great willingness to change.

In a Feb. 21 editorial, Editor James Bennett says, “The Atlantic has also thrived, in part, by changing. To promote the competition of ideas, The Atlantic now has three Web sites and conducts dozens of live events a year. Our ‘printed’ words are also conveyed digitally, on the Web and on tablets and phones. We are reaching a far larger audience than we ever have. Optimism about change—impatience for it—was part of the radical founding ethos of The Atlantic, and this has turned out to be a good thing, today as in 1957, given all the forms and means of expression that are clamoring for your attention (though still not drowning out the poor LP, let alone radio, television, or the picture book—maybe because, in testament to the suppleness of human intelligence, technologies have a way of supplementing, rather than simply replacing, one another.)”

Although at Zinio we think wide selection and discovering new content will change the way you read, we don’t expect it to completely replace your old habits. In fact we see that 15% of our readers use all three platforms to reach their magazines each month. All of which goes back to James Bennett’s point that technology definitely supplements rather than replaces consumer behavior and the same holds true with digital publishing. We’re with James Bennett and kudos to The Atlantic.

Zinio is a promotional partner of Appolicious.