80 iOS magazine downloads for every 1 Android download, so they are throwing in the towel.
You can’t argue with their logic, but you have to wonder why the big discrepancy.
One area that screams opportunity is that it was taking them about 3-4 extra days to author the magazine for their Android targets, compared to a few hours to adapt their Retina iPad version to non-retina iPad and iPhone versions.
If you have an authoring platform that easily can generate for all the targets without manual intervention, then it really doesn’t matter how small your Android audience starts out. This seems to be the issue, that they built for the retina iPad, then ‘dumbed down’ the content to hit a broad range of Android devices. They use the Mag+ platform to publish their magazine. It starts with InDesign, and maybe that’s part of the problem. There’s a pressing need for a publishing workflow that is more organic to mobile rather than based on print content.
The other issue seemed to be discoverability — there is one place in iOS where Magazines are showcased (Newsstand), and they are also discoverable in the App Store proper. On Android, you have multiple app stores — Google Play, Amazon, and whatever storefront the carriers may have added. This means you need to submit your app to multiple stores and try to get it showcased there. If Apple has 100,000 downloads of your app, it will show up in popularity rankings, but that same 100,000 will be diluted across multiple stores on Android. And given the split they saw, it’s really 1250 downloads spread across Google Play, Amazon, Verizon, etc.
iOS 6 also has a feature that will tell you if there is an app for any sites you visit in Safari, and that certainly must drive downloads as well. The feature is called “Smart App Banners”. You basically put a meta tag in your web page that tells Safari about the app, and voila, a banner with an App Store link is visible to any Safari users using iOS 6. Android doesn’t have a similar feature.