Condé Nast May Start Giving More Free App Downloads

At a Condé Nast town hall meeting yesterday morning, the idea of more free app downloads, like the Adobe-sponsored May issue of Wired, was kicked around, according to the New York Post.

The big proponent of apps at Condé Nast is Scott Dadich, vice president of digital development, whose success in developing the first app for Wired got him the job of all app development for the company. Wired readers downloaded more than 105,000 paid editions for the first issue last June, compared to the 80,000 or so magazines purchased at the newsstands. Even better, without all the shipping and printing costs, publishers saw a bigger cut — even taking into account the 30% that went to Apple.

But then sales dropped off sharply, averaging about 27,369 a month, which translates into a little over a $100,000 per month in revenue — not enough to fund the content.

Free app downloads may help boost traffic for publications. And although Condé Nast is continuing to charge per issue, this may be a sign that it’s rethinking whether or not paid issues are the only way to save publishing.