By Rex Hammock

Next Monday, March 25, Apple is expected to release a wide array of media services. While the anticipated announcements sound similar to already-existing products (AppleTV, Hulu, Amazon Prime, etc.), Apple will likely have approaches and features that will make us rethink how we interact with such services. In other words, don’t just look for a predictable take on streaming video.

One thing I’ll be looking for is a magazine subscription platform that has been described as the Netflix of magazines. If the predictions are correct, users will be able to read new and back issues of numerous popular magazines for a flat subscription fee. In fact, Apple acquired such a magazine subscription service last year called Texture, perhaps lending more credence to the hunch that this will be part of Apple’s release on Monday.

But I’m not sure the pundits are guessing correctly on this service. Why? Because there is nothing new about such an approach. Subscription services have been around since the beginning of the web era. And attempts to replicate the aesthetic and experience of print magazines onto a digital screen are far from inspiring.

Apple has tried and failed at rolling out previous versions of Netflix for magazines—some as long as a decade ago. So have magazine publishing companies.

Of course, some magazine publishers have been successful in developing other formats unique to the web (such as constantly updated websites), but they continue to fail when they try to reproduce the experience of a print magazine on a screen.

As I’ve said for years, I’m a lover of both print and digital media. However, the experience of the print magazine format has not yet been fully replicated on a computer, iPad screen or other devices. But if any company can accomplish it, Apple can.

So tune in next Monday. We may see something that comes closer than previous attempts.


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