Electronista reports that Wenner Media—publisher of both Rolling Stone and its gossipy counterpart, US Weekly—will begin publishing its magazines to the iPad in early 2012. The company will initally dip its toe into the tablet waters with a $10 app version of its book, The Beatles: The Ultimate Album-by-Album Guide. The iPad versions of the magazines will contain some song samples and interviews, but otherwise will largely replicate the print magazine.
Both the decision to publish on tablets and the decision to offer a relatively bare-bones experience may make sense in light of other recent developments. The Association of Magazine Media last week released the results of its first survey of mobile magazine readers; 90 percent of respondents suggested they read more magazine content since acquiring their mobile device, and 63 percent said they would like to see even more magazines made available in tablet form. That's a loyal—and growing—audience for publishers, even ones like Jann Wenner who have been loudly skeptical of the iPad's promise for their businesses.
Likewise, it may make sense to skip the bells and whistles. Ad Week reported Tuesday that magazine publishers like Hearst Corp. are pulling back on the digital extras for their tablet apps—including offerings for the iPad, Kindle Fire, and Nook Color tablet—to focus mainly on a “great reading experience.” Research has found that customers aren't likely to pay extra for an app with all the multimedia trimmings, the magazine reported.
Here's hoping the Rolling Stone app isn't too stripped down, though. We'd hate to see a list of readers' favorite Van Halen songs that didn't give us a chance to experience David Lee Roth in his full, bawdy glory.