The monthly all-you-can-eat model has already hit movies and music with the likes of Netflix and Rdio, and now moves into the realm of magazines for Canadian readers.
Rogers Media (who owns Canadian Business) has joined with Next Issue Media (NIM) to bring the latter’s magazine service across the border. Next Issue Media, started in 2009 as a collaboration between five leading U.S.-based publishers Condé Nast, Hearst, Meredith, NewsCorp, and Time Inc., launched its first app just 18 months ago and offers two subscription plans. For $9.99 per month, readers get unlimited access to monthly and bi-weekly magazines like Vogue, Esquire, Vanity Fair, Wired and now Rogers’ titles like Canadian Business and Sportsnet, including back issues. The $14.99 per month option gets you all titles in the catalog and back issues, including weeklies like Entertainment Weekly, Sports Illustrated, The New Yorker and Maclean’s.
Earlier this year, NIM CEO Morgan Guenther told Forbes the service had built a user base of 120,000. Of that, 70,000 weren’t necessarily subscribers but readers who use NIM to access digital versions of publications they subscribe to in print. Of the remaining 50,000, 60% were paying $15 a month for premium subscriptions and 40% paid for the $10 a month option. It’s a decent start but Guenther is aiming much higher; he says a million users by the end of next year is a reasonable target. This Canadian excursion is certainly hoping to help.
“We’re thrilled to be partnering with Rogers to bring for the first time the Next Issue experience to customers outside of the U.S.,” said Guenther, in a statement. “In addition to its popular magazine titles, the Rogers organization offers unparalleled reach to consumers throughout Canada via its cable, wireless, broadcast, sports and Internet properties.”
The partnership between NIM and Rogers goes beyond just stocking up on the Canadian company’s quiver of media properties. President of Rogers Publishing Ken Whyte is leaving that desk to be president of Next Issue Canada. During a press conference announcing the deal, Whyte said this will represent an eight-figure investment in promotion, marketing and distribution. “In my lifetime, this is probably the biggest bet that any company has made in the development in [the publishing] industry,” said Whyte. “Titles change hands, companies change hands, but we are making a serious investment in magazine content for Canadians which will have a huge impact all the way through the publishing infrastructure… In this service, Canadian and American magazines will be available on equal terms on both sides of the border. We’re essentially going global as a Canadian content company.”
Next Issue Canada is going with a two-tiered launch, first available October 15th with a free two-month trial to Rogers wireless and cable customers on iPads, Android tablets and Win8 devices then to everyone else with a free one-month trial on December 15th.