Thoughts on Wired — an Open Letter
Hey Wired guys,
I wanted to write and give some of my feedback on the groundbreaking Wired iPad app.
First off, I have the utmost respect for Wired and the print industry, that being said, I think many people are starting to see that we are on the verge of a true digital revolution for print media, one that has been happening slowly for a long time. I think your ipad magazine app is evidence of this, and I think that it is a really good start. But, that’s exactly what it is: a start.
I want to start by looking a little bit at pricing. $4.99 was steep, and I think you’ve realized that and thus lowered it to $3.99, is that good enough only time will tell. Readers want to see the perceived savings of digital distribution passed on. Yet, I understand how you must keep the perceived value of your medium high. I get that, but what I will say is that, if you are going to keep the price high, then the content must be that much better to make up for the difference in price. It’s got to be more than the occasional embedded video or slideshow. It’s got to be even more interactive. The iPad is an amazing device, and it really literally allows your readers to touch your product, and through your product you need to touch them. That is your challenge.
One way you could possibly make higher pricing more appealing is by adapting a model of tiered pricing, reducing the cost of magazines as the age. Information and news are time sensitive. The less current they are, the less valuable they are. So it makes logical sense to charge less for lass months issue than this months. Say for instance that this months is $3.99 and last months is $2.99, then $1.99, and perhaps a couple issues thereout at $0.99. Interestingly though, as information goes back it starts to regain value, at least just in that teachers, scholars, or students may want access to it for research purposes. So you charge a fee for access to the back catalogue of your magazine, either a flat fee or a monthly/yearly fee.
It is vitally important that you take advantage of the platform that you’re on. For example, your magazine should have active links within it. If you include a table of contents, clicking on an article should bring you to that article. Clicking on an author’s name should bring you to a bio page. Clicking on an email address should pop up an email field. Clicking on a web address should boot up a web browser. The crucial part here is that you are allowing your reader all of this functionality without ever leaving your app. Therefore, they continue to interact with your magazine for a longer period of time, which gives them more time to look at (or even better, play with — notice how play is interactive, while look is not) your advertisements, thus making your magazine more valuable to advertisers.
Content will be King,
Written on my iPad