An interesting launch last week, with Sainsbury’s offering its customers digital subscriptions to over 1,000 magazines by partnering with Magazine Cloner to run a feed of the PocketMags site. The new site is part of their “Entertainment on Demand” offering that provides movies, music and ebooks as well as magazines. You can see the similarities and the the differences between a title page below.
As well as the usual payment methods, The Sainsbury’s site also allows customers to redeem Nectar points in purchasing subscriptions or single copies, and gives points for purchase.
I’m sure that it will add to sales of their digital editions, but probably not as much as either Magazine Cloner or publishers think that it might; I know from experience that the sales reality of supermarket partnerships never matches the promise.
There is the other complication that what’s on offer is just your standard page-turner, with all the problems that that brings in its wake. From talking to publishers it would seem that the market for this type of digital edition is around 10-15% of the standard print circulation. Some magazines achieve a lot more, but they are the exception. Many are nowhere near the 10% level of course, so this might be a useful boost and take their titles into new markets, but I’d caution against writing too many big numbers on the revenue line for the time being.