Thanks to Facebook, brace yourself for United Magazines of America

Good news for the magazine industry: Many publishers have joined forces to build a platform that helps them to sell subscriptions in the direct stream of Facebook’s news feed.

Synapse, a subscription marketing agency that works with major magazine publishers like Hearst, is working with few companies that specialize in Facebook shopping applications, to enable publishers to sell subscriptions directly on Facebook Pages and even in users’ newsfeeds beginning mid or end of summer.

The apps will allow us to share articles with our friends that can then be expanded into dynamic pop-ups on their newsfeeds, complete with ads and directions to subscribe to the magazine elsewhere on Facebook. We spent half our time on Facebook, why not integrate all the news we want there as well? Makes perfect sense 🙂

I think this is particularly smart for magazines too, though. Publishers struggle to drive traffic to their sites to get ad impressions; if they can put the ads directly on Facebook AND drive subscription sales, they’ll have created a much better model.

What’s surprising to me is the fact Facebook will not be taking a cut of the revenue generated by subscriptions via the apps. Facebook played the same game with gaming market and end up changing the rules later on.

The other unclear thing is the amount of  information Facebook will reveal to the publishers — an issue companies like Condé Nast have had with Apple, who will not reveal the names and addresses of those who purchase iPhone and iPad apps of magazines.

If Facebook plays this right, they could be a superb medium for magazine publishers with limited resources, in terms of getting their work out there and gaining readers. If monetization comes into play, they’re onto a winner.

The magazine tab within the Facebook fan page is central, acting like a CRM from where publishers gain and manage their readers. Publishers will soon be able to make money from ads and subscriptions across all platforms.

It will interesting to see how Facebook will be incorporated into the digital newsstand.

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About Elias Shams
I have been a serial entrepreneur in telecom and social media space for past 12 years or so. I hold a M.S. degree in Telecommunication Engineering from the George Washington University and a B.S. degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Maryland. I’ve lived and worked in many countries and cities including London England, Tehran Iran, Bonn Germany, Paris France, Alicante Spain, Delhi India, and my favorite of all Washington, DC of great US of A. Two of the greatest Washington, DC based companies I worked for and very proud of are Yurie Systems which was sold to Lucent in 1998 for $1.23 B and that I founded in 1999. I am currently the founder and awesomizer @

5 Responses to Thanks to Facebook, brace yourself for United Magazines of America

  1. Steven Rossi says:

    I’d love to see a mock-up of how this will look in the News Feed. I think it’s a great idea for magazine publishers; if they don’t move in these new directions they’re inevitably going to be in trouble (that is, aside from the top one or two percent which will likely always be around). It just seems like a smart move.

    • Perhaps, but I don’t see it–at the present time. While FB members sign up for social causes by the millions–Facebook is still a relative shallow, social tool.

      On the other hand, if United Magazines of America can deliver apps to iPad and the other myriad tablets and laptops, then–perhaps–magazine content can be perpetuated.

  2. Perry says:

    Not sure I think people will read magazines on FaceBook. I wait to be proven wrong.

    I think magazines need to figure out how to get their content in front of subscribers in as many ways possible so they can reach the widest audience. Looking at the Amazon model for Kindle would be a great place to start. You don’t need a kindle to read amazon ebooks.

  3. Perry Wilson says:

    I agree with Steven. Not sure with the way FB collects and sells member information, that people will be interested in adding another piece of data about themselves to their profile.

    I think Amazon has a good model, you don’t need a kindle to read their ebooks, you can get a Kindle for XX for whatever tool you have. That’s how you get the most customers.

  4. Jeff Hart says:

    It’s amazing how people work against their best interests. The soda tax and the bag tax before that are excellent examples. Not telling anyone what they should do, but for the vast majority of shoppers leaving the District to shop will not only be not cost effective, but the tax money paid will provide less benefit than taxes paid to DC Government. It would take 20 bags of groceries or more than $14.00 in soda to cost more than $1. Unless your time is worth less than $4/hour it’s not rational to drive an additional 8 minutes each way to avoid these taxes.

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