In April, Atlantic Media President Justin Smith teased the idea of a paid product at PaidContent Live. The new offering has finally arrived, and it turns out not to be a website paywall (as some had guessed), but instead a weekly magazine that readers can download to their iPhones and iPads.
The magazine is called Atlantic Weekly and features a “best of” collection of curated content from the Atlantic.com and sister brands Cities and AtlanticWire. It will be priced at $2.99 a month, $19.99 a year or $1.99 for a one-off purchase.
A new issue will arrive every Friday afternoon. The idea, according to Smith, is for readers to have a collection of content, including photos and features, at the ready to enjoy over the weekend.
The format for the Atlantic Weekly follows the “subcompact publishing” trend introduced by innovators like Marco Arment and 29th Street Publishing‘s David Jacobs. The idea is to create relatively lightweight apps that deliver readers a mailbox of content once a week or so — while giving the publisher a new stream of recurring revenue at a low production cost. One good example is The Awl’s Weekend Companion.
As my colleague Mathew Ingram has noted, one big drawback to the app publishing model is that readers can’t share content the way they do on the web — meaning it’s harder for stories to go viral. But this wil be less of an issue with the Atlantic Weekly since the magazine features only curated content available elsewhere.
There’s no word yet when an Android version will arrive. Here’s a video of the panel on paywalls where Justin Smith first teased the paid product:
A transcription of the video follows on the next page