Study: The iPad is the Biggest Problem with iPad Magazines

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The future of magazines may be digital – but that doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s a good thing for magazines. A new study suggests that iPad magazines have one major drawback when compared to their print editions: The iPad itself.

A study carried out by Bonnier, publisher of Popular Science, Parenting and other special interest magazines, has apparently discovered that the iPad is so distracting for most people that they may not even be able to finish an article without going to do something else. Bonnier R&D program director Megan Miller explains:

We thought that of course there’s a lot of activity going on on an iPad, when there’s so many things you can be doing — between email, Netflix, playing games, reading magazines — but they’re actually bouncing around a lot more than we thought. If you sit someone down with a magazine, within seconds they’re researching the products that they could buy. If they see a snowboard in a snowboarding magazine, they’ll bounce over to Amazon to check the prices on it.

It’s not just the distraction issue that’s a problem, Miller adds; iPad magazine readers tended to think things were advertisements even when they weren’t:

When there was a full-bleed whole page dedicated to a product, people said, ‘Yeah, that’s an ad.’ And we selected people who were from an educated demographic. They were not dummies.

The dummies study group was too busy trying to eat the iPad to even notice there was a magazine to read, apparently.

It all adds up to the possibility that the iPad isn’t quite the savior of the magazine industry that everyone hoped it would be – or, at least, not yet. Bonnier plans to take these findings and create a next-generation iPad magazine that will be stickier and more clearly defined for readers. Maybe the most profitable thing to do would be to drop all editorial content and just sell advertising; if nothing else, it sounds like readers are ready to jump online to look at prices without much prompting.

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