To launch a successful Ad Supported Digital Magazine (ASDM) you need to deploy a design or content strategy to overcome the two physical digital magazine annoyance factors; having to zoom in and out to read pages, and pages that don't always turn when you want them to.
One content strategy is to tighten editorial focus to appeal to a smaller, possibly under served, but more motivated group of readers. With a more motivated audience these annoyances become minor and the dramatically lower costs of digital delivery make the business model work even with a smaller circulation.
That seems to be part of the strategy behind "US Newsweekly" which soft launched back in January as the digital only reincarnation of the former weekly news magazine "US News and World Report."
According to a post on Jeff Bercovici's Portfolio blog based on an interview with Kelly:
"Whereas the parent title has gravitated toward advertiser-friendly topics like health and education, the digital weekly will be "very Washington-centric, "says Kelly, with a tighter focus on politics and policy. Since there's less ad support for that type of content, U.S. News Weekly will be a premium product: A one-year subscription will cost $19.95. "This is what every editor's trying to figure out right now -- how can I pay my reporters to do reporting?" says Kelly. "You've got to figure out a way where, on some level, the consumer is going to pay for some type of content."
We wish Brian Kelly and his pioneering group good luck. If successful, this launch could lead to greater acceptance of digital magazines created to attract their own audience, not just digital replicas of print magazines.