Is Newsstand the game-changer publishers wanted when the first iPad was announced?

When iOS 5 came out, my Twitter stream was filled with users who were trying to get rid of Newsstand on their homescreen. I thought for sure it would be a dud.

It turns out I follow a lot of techie guys and girls. For most of us it’s annoying, but for non-power users “it is more of a “finally” type system. It makes searching for, downloading, and paying for periodicals very easy.” – Ben Brooks

Game Changer

It seems that Newsstand has become a true game changer for publishers. Obviously it’s more convenient for the user, and much more discoverable for the user. But it looks like “there is something game-changing about Newsstand”.

Since Apple launched it last week in the latest version of its iOS operating system, its impact has been immediate and significant. Many Newsstand apps now rank among the top free apps overall, and magazine and newspaper apps are benefiting from a surge of downloads and subscribers.

I know that although I had Newsstand on my iPad for quite a long time now, I hadn’t installed any Newsstand apps because they weren’t available on the store yet. Now that they are, I’ve already installed quite a few publications.

The numbers are crazy.

The week Newsstand launched, the NYTimes for iPad app saw 189,000 new user downloads, up seven times from only 27,000 the week before, spokeswoman Danielle Rhoades Ha told me.

That’s impressive, but it’s nothing compared to the NYTimes iPhone app, which saw 1.8 million new downloads that week, 85 times more than the 21,000 downloads the week before. Nearly one-fifth of the 9.1 million people who have ever downloaded the NYTimes iPhone app did so last week, with the launch of Newsstand.

These numbers are quite telling.

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