Time Inc. service offers cool idea, uninspired selection.
Time Inc. launched its much anticipated magazine meta-subscription service Maghound today. The idea is that for a small fee, starting at three titles for $4.95 a month, you can swap out magazine subscriptions every month. It's like Netflix for magazine subscriptions, but unlike Netflix the selection is awful. We like the idea a lot though and we hope it will improve.
PaidContent explains the gaps as follows:
At launch, it has 240 titles, about 40 less that what Time Inc said at a trade show in June, Folio notes. In addition to all Time inc titles, of course, it has titles from Conde Nast (not all), Rodale, and others. Notably missing is any magazine from the Hearst stable, including Esquire, Cosmopolitan and others. Some of the other notables I checked on which are missing are The Atlantic, Business Week, Wired, The Economist, Reader's Digest, and National Geographic .
There's a whole world of independent magazines beyond the big titles as well, see directory sites like NewPages.com and Mygazines. We'd love to see Maghound include titles from those directories. Is it in Time's interest to do so? Probably not.
We had high hopes for another magazine experiment called Brijit, but that innovative service went belly up in May and is no longer even online.
We hope print periodicals aren't dead, because we really like reading them. If this is the best the industry can do, though, then there's probably not much hope.
We like what Maghound is trying to do, and Time's distribution largess might help it work, but the service at launch isn't interesting enough to leave us anything but dissapointed.