Subscribing to the Idea Wine Mags Must Go Digital

Ipadmags Which will be the first wine magazine to offer digital subscriptions to their digitally-formatted content?

Last summer I revealed that I'm ready to throw out my paper magazines and begin reading periodicals in digital format. But one of the criteria I thought critical to being able to do this, particularly if I use an iPad or other pad-type devise, was that there was a system for buying year long subscriptions in digital format. I wrote:

"2. I want the option of buying a digital subscription to wine magazines and newsletters that will automatically appear on my iPad when new issues are  released along with receiving an email alerting me that my new issue is available."

Well, that day has come with both Apple and Google announcing digital subscription technology for devises using their operating systems. This is a HUGE step in publishing.

While I believe this offers greater opportunities for daily and weekly newspapers than it does for magazines, I agree with Steve Jobs of Apple that this new subscription format WILL bring new subscribers to publishers (for that advantage, Apple is charging publishers 30% of the subscriptions and is keeping much of the subscriber data for themselves).

Bringing their glossy magazines to a digital format and distributing their monthly and bi-monthly issues to wine lovers in this fashion is, in my view, the most important step The Wine Spectator, Wine & Spirits Magazine, Wine Enthusiast, Quarterly Review of Wine, Decanter, Wine Business Monthly, and other printed wine periodicals can take to increase their readership and subscription base at this moment in time. Furthermore, I think the first mover in this space will reap benefits. Finally, I don't think, looking down the road, that neglecting the digitalizing of wine periodicals and offering digital subscriptions is an option for wine magazines looking to continue to compete.

The potential for fundamentally evolving wine magazine content into something new, something much deeper, something more interactive and something more comprehensive has never been greater. Instead of reading about the new vintage out of Champagne on a flat page with copy and pictures, now I might read those same words and see those same pictures, but at the same time watch a video of the tasting session that led to reviews. I might also watch an interview with a Champagne importer. I might search champagne reviews from inside the "magazine". The potential is endless. And I believe if this added digital content is made available to digital readers, the publishers will be able to justify a higher subscription price. At least with me they will.

My hope is that the majority of wine magazines take this route by the end of the year. It would be, in my mind, the biggest news in wine publishing of 2011.


5 Responses

  1. Tim - February 17, 2011

    I agree with you Tom but wanted to point out there are several wine pubs available in Zinio editions including Decanter and Wine Enthusiast. While these are just direct transfers of their print editions you can get them on your iPad today.
    Check out the Lifestyle > Wine & Spirits selection here:

  2. WINEcouver - February 17, 2011

    We’ve been subscribed to Decanter via Zinio for the past few months on our iPad. Loving the service thus far. We get an email every time a new issue is released, and can start reading it within seconds of opening up the Zinio app.
    These digital subscriptions have yet to approach the level of interactivity we see with the industry leaders such as Wired. Currently, it is just a digital copy of the paper version. No videos, no interactive graphics, etc. That is the bigger point in your article, and we completely agree.
    A niche market waiting to see who becomes the industry leader. Game on.

  3. hugh tietjen - February 17, 2011

    Hey Tom, check out—–
    or since you are now an ipad guy, try the new Wines and Vines App on your iphone or ipad.
    I think you will like the implementation.
    hugh Tietjen

  4. Erika - February 18, 2011

    Tim is correct, we (Wine Enthusiast) do offer digital subs already! Evidently we aren’t doing a good enough job promoting them but you can purchase one here

  5. JohnLopresti - February 19, 2011

    I worked in the medical industry electronic records area for many years. Over the past several years several publications which are pricey trade research reports in magazine format have become available online free if the visitor can verify affiliation with a library, university, or other medical industry related research institution.
    Much of the technical literature in medical research is available free, as well.
    I have missed access I had to the American Journal of Enology and Viticulture when I was in college, and do not belong to that professional organization; so, have only visitor access to ~5 free article downloads every few years, which I believe remains AJEV’s online policy to this date.
    Does anyone know of a trade organization membership or other entity which obtains free access to the industry standard tech literature available only in AJEV? That might make one of the new iPads or a Kindle a worthwhile purchase. Or, maybe ASEV would offer a bundle of a free iPad plus a free subscription. Just a marketing vision. But, then the organization would need to sustain a blog, too; as the abstract data in AJEV often is likely to elicit technical controversy; still it is the most unified, advanced source of what is going on, and will be occurring, within the basic science area of this trade.

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