Zinio, the digital magazine newsstand, recently launched Z-Pass, a subscription service that allows consumers to get 3 magazines for $5/month. Best of all, the subscription plan adopts a Netflix-style to magazines, allowing subscribers to swap out titles. So one month, you can read Popular Mechanics, Fit Pregnancy and Esquire, and the next it’s Discover, Cosmo and Inc.Zinio has the advantage of being the first digital magazine platform on the scene, founded in 2001 — eight years ahead of the iPad. Yet, it hasn’t had the same reach as mega-platforms like the iPad, Nook and Kindle.The new subscription plan, however, might revitalize the company. First, being a pioneer in the digital magazine world, Zinio has 5,500 titles. The Z-Pass lets subscribers choose from a catalog of 300 of those titles. They can also add more than three titles for an additional $1.50 each, although some magazines, like The Economist, cost more.Zinio’s president Michelle Bottomley said the $5 price came out of consumer research, but it’s really the swapping feature that I think will make this program a success. It’s rare that consumers read every issue of any title (just like it’s rare they listen to every song on an album– which is why Apple’s iTunes has been such a success). But I’m willing to bet consumers would be thrilled to read single issues, especially when a particular article is getting buzz through friends or media coverage. And then they can read next month’s “hot” articles from other magazines — without having to pay more or buy a separate subscription.It’s a brilliant system — something finally akin to the micropayment model of iTunes, but more appropriate to the way people consume magazines. Plus, consumers are happier to give their credit card over once to a reputed retailer than to multiple companies (or multiple times, when buying single digital issues for the Kindle or Nook).I say keep your eye on Zinio — they may be on to something here.
Zinio Moves to Subscription Model, Making Magazine-Hopping Easier
Zinio, the digital magazine newsstand, recently launched Z-Pass, a subscription service that allows consumers to get 3 magazines for $5/month. Best of all, the