The emergence of digital magazines into the tablet medium has been pretty rough going thus far, considering publishers' testy reception to Apple's 30 percent commission and somewhat heavy-handed information-sharing policies, and in light of the struggles of content producers to create affordable, user-friendly tablet editions of their print magazine designs. Watching the development of a new media format in its infancy has been fascinating, as all parties involved try to take advantage of new opportunities and cash in on the millions of tech-savvy, gadget-loving users on the leading edge of tech.
Print publications face many of the same challenges the three major U.S. TV networks were forced to confront with the advent of cable. Way back when, cable TV rather suddenly began to splinter the traditional oligopoly on televised content into dozens (and now hundreds) of choices for viewers. Today, though, all media outlets — including magazines — are up against a staggering number of potential online sources of information, fun and distraction. That is the new reality, and there's no sense pining for a simpler time. The battle for eyeballs can be brutal, and to succeed magazines will have to adapt or surrender — like it or not.