With hundreds of millions of users, the iOS homescreen is a prime piece of real estate. With the release of iOS 5 a few weeks ago, Apple introduced a new icon to the homescreen – its Newstand app.
Newsstand is a folder which lets users organize their magazine and newspaper app subscriptions from one location. Any time a subscribed-to publication gets updated, the latest version automatically appears within the Newsstand folder. As Apple describes it on their website, “it’s kind of like having the paper delivered to your front door.”
iOS 5 was released into the wild on October 12 and also serves as the built-in iOS for the recently released iPhone 4S. Two weeks later, Magazine publisher Conde Nast said that digital subscriptions to its fleet of Magazines increased by 268% following the release of iOS 5. some of Conde Naste’s more popular publications include GQ and The New Yorker. Moreover, sales of individual Magazine issues increased by 142%.
“We couldn’t be happier,” Conde Naste Executive Vice President Monica Ray said in a press release. “It’s clear that the focused attention and greater discoverability Newsstand provides our brands has been embraced by the consumer. While we recognize the spike in sales is in part fueled by the attention the launch received, we are very optimistic that we will see a consistently higher level of growth going forward than we did prior to the app’s introduction.”
While details are currently lacking as to the breakdown of subscriptions across various iOS devices, the increased interest in subscriptions is promising news for companies that were hoping the iPad would provide a significant uptick in sales. iPad sales are undeniably strong, but Apple’s tablet hasn’t yet revolutionized the publishing industry in the way many anticipated prior to its release.
But in putting Newsstand front and center in iOS 5, that may soon change in the weeks and months to come.
Wired also chimes in with reports of other publications enjoying the added visibility that Newsstand provides.
Other success stories: New York Times app subscriptions absolutely soared after Newsstand launched. Its iPad app alone saw 189,000 new user downloads, seven times the number from the week before (27,000). The New York Times saw even more remarkable numbers for its iPhone app: 1.8 million downloads, or 85 times more downloads than the 21,000 of the week before. Meanwhile, Future Plc, a UK-based publisher of niche consumer-enthusiast magazines, saw a 750 percent increase in sales after Newsstand debuted.