If you're a Windows 8 user, there could be an electronic magazine service in your future. Next Issue Media, which offers all-you-can-read digital magazine subscriptions through an app, has now expanded its app and subscriptions beyond Android tablets and the iPad to Windows 8 devices.
The availability of Next Issue for Surface tablets as well as for Windows desktops, Ultrabooks and laptops could mean that this "Netflix for magazines" approach will have a large potential base of users and could begin to get the critical mass necessary to become a common method of periodical distribution. Through a single account, which can be shared with as many as five other devices, readers get access to the service's magazines on an unlimited basis.
The Windows app is designed for that platform's user interface, and allows such features as pinning favorite magazines to the Start screen, notifications when new issues are available, and multi-tasking with Snap View. The library layout, which provides access to back issues, has been expanded.
John Richards, senior director of Windows App Marketing for Microsoft, said in a statement that users can now seamlessly switch between tablets, Ultrabooks or desktop machines from a single account. The Windows 8 launch is the first time Next Issue has worked directly with a platform partner. Microsoft, which obviously benefits from apps that can be used across the Windows ecosystem, is providing marketing support, and the app will be featured in the company's App Store.
The service offers a Basic plan with access to dozens of monthly and bi-weekly titles for $9.99 monthly, and an Unlimited Premium plan with access to all 82 titles Next Issue carries for $14.99 monthly.
Next Issue said it has about 120,000 subscribers, but only about 50,000 are actually paying customers. The others are "authenticators," who have subscribed to the print issue of a magazine and thereby also obtain access to the digital version of that magazine. Of the Next Issue subscribers, the company said 60 percent were Premium subscribers and the rest had Basic subscriptions. Next Issue does not include access to print magazines.
Facebook Sharing, Clipping
Titles include Time, Better Homes and Gardens, Bon Appetit, Car and Driver, Conde Nast Traveler, Cosmopolitan, Details, Entertainment Weekly, Esquire, Essence, Family Circle, Fast Company, Fortune, GQ, People and others.
The company is a joint effort of Conde Nast, Hearst, Meredith, News Corp. and Time Inc., and it has taken a while to roll out since it was first organized in 2009. In May 2011, the service launched a digital storefront preview for the Samsung Galaxy tablet. Last April, it unveiled a version for tablets running Android 3.0 or later, and offered 32 magazine titles. In July, it became available for the iPad.
The company has said that it intends to add, over time, publications from publishers outside the initial five. Plans also include social sharing through Facebook and other means, clipping functions for saving articles or images, and expansion to Android smartphones and the iPhone.