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After Fast Start, iPad Now Only Accounts for Quarter of Wired's Sales

The iPad has often been heralded as a revolutionary new outlet for magazine content. One of the publishers that has been at the forefront of this even before the iPad was announced is Conde Nast, the company behind, among many others, the iconic Wired magazine. During the last half of 2010, according to AdAge, which got a sneak peek at the Audit Bureau of Circulations‘ semiannual circulation report, Wired was one of the few magazines that actually saw single-copy sales increase. The magazine’s sales were up 28.2% in the second half of 2010. In total, Wired sold an average of 105,614 copies, including an average of 27,000 iPad editions.

Wired’s iPad edition did extremely well during its first few months on sale. At one point, it even looked as if the magazine’s iPad sales could outpace its regular newsstand sales. Since then, though, sales of the electronic edition have plummeted as the novelty wore off for many users.

While the first edition sold 79,000 copies within the first week of sales, sales in July and August were already down to 31,000 and 28,000 respectively. If the average copy of the iPad edition really only sold an average of 27,000 copies during the second half of 2010, then the last few editions of 2010 probably sold under 25,000 copies.

Current editions of Wired for the iPad cost $4 (and take a long time to download). That means that after Apple takes its 30% cut, Conde Nast is currently making less than $70,000 per iPad edition from single-copy sales. To put this into perspective, News Corps. The Daily is rumored to cost about $500,000 per week to run and operate. Wired probably gets higher rates from its advertisers and includes more ads, so chances are that the iPad edition at least breaks even.

4 COMMENTS

  1. Are you factoring in loss of single copy sales due to subscription?

    Unfortunately, I do not have an iPad yet — waiting for the iPad 2 — so I am just speculating.

    It would only make sense that customers be given an annual subscription option to an iPad magazine. If this is the case, single issue sales would be hurt by subscriptions.

    There is no doubting the novelty aspect. Surely, many people downloaded a single issue of Wired to see its interface/how it looked on the iPad (I know some content’s first issues were free). Chances are that if the person liked it, this person would then subscribe rather than pay full price for every issue.

    But hey, maybe there is no subscription option for the iPad yet. If there isn’t, Wired needs to get on it.

    Great topic Mr. Lardinois!

    • Mir – subscriptions for the iPad are a sore topic for publishers. The Daily, which launched earlier this week, is the first publication to support in-app subscriptions. Chances are others, including the Conde Nast iPad apps, will soon offer the same feature. As of now, you can’t subscribe to Wired on the iPad and you have to buy single issues instead.

      Hope that clarifies things – should have mentioned that in the post.

      • Thanks for the clarification. Weird that no subscription is offered. There is a system in place where you can subscribe to podcasts (including $ podcasts) in iTunes. It would stand to reason that there would be a system set up to subscribe to magazines too.

  2. $70,000 gross profit per issue? you really think they are only just breaking even?? wow they must have a big team making it interactive for the iPad then!

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