‘iTunes for the Magazine Industry’ to Launch Paid Model
Online platform Maggwire to debut next generation ‘premium’ service in 2010.
Maggwire.com, a platform that provides magazine publishers with a framework for monetizing online content, recently announced plans to launch a ‘Premium’ service next year.
The platform’s beta version allows readers to browse magazine articles—currently almost 10,000 per week, including Time, PCWorld, Vogue and Yachting, among others—free of charge. But “Just as iTunes proved people will pay for reliable music downloads, people will pay for a personalized magazine experience that delivers reliable content,” said Maggwire co-founder and CEO Ryan Klenovich. With this in mind, the company plans to launch a paid service to facilitate magazine content monetization.
In an e-mail to FOLIO:, Klenovich said the subscriber model will deliver “premium magazine content exclusively to Maggwire users” with a streamlined user interface that’s “the most sleek digital magazine experience ever created.” The inspiration to create an iTunes for magazines, said Klenovich, was in the hopes of decreasing the learning curve that readers experience with individual magazine sites. It will also give readers access to articles across a variety of topics (i.e., personal finance channel will include content from Money, Fortune and Forbes, as well as The Economist, BusinessWeek and Men’s Health). This content will be available both online and offline.
“We can also identify other Maggwire users with similar tastes, and based on their rating behavior we can predict which articles you will like—before you read them,” Klenovich said, likening it to Netflix’s CineMatch algorithm.
Down the road, Klenovich said publishers will be able to create an interactive experience within their interface standards using Maggwire’s API. “Rather than programming for Apple’s Appstore, publishers will program for Maggwire’s API to create the best experience for users and the best situation for publishes," he said. Maggwire Premium will also eventually introduce user-targeted ads to increase publishers’ online ad rates using their all-encompassing readership and user data.
While pricing is subject to “small increases after the platform achieves mass consumer adoption,” Klenovich wrote, each channel will have a flat monthly fee, with base subscriptions priced at $1.99 (including one magazine title and one channel), with each additional title or channel $0.99. Single articles outside of reader-selected titles or channels will be $0.15 per basic article, and $0.25 per cover article (determined by the publisher).
As far as publishers on board with this premium service, Maggwire is “in discussions with or has meetings scheduled with most of the publishers on the Maggwire site.” They are “likely a few weeks away from executing contracts with publishers."
Maggwire will offer publishers revenue sharing agreements with “a unique way of allocating channel revenue to publishers beyond simple clicks,” Klenovich said. “We are not disclosing this method to the public just yet.”