Ooh, so close, but no banana
"Sure, all the electronic copies cost nothing to distribute but the backend systems, hosting and security costs a fortune."
Yes, if they all build their own stores, but Zinio have been going for over ten years and Amazon & Apple have extended their existing infrastructure, which costs a good deal less than new build.
If someone launches a new magazine they don't build a network of newsagents along with the distribution network, they use the infrastructure that's already there.
I'm not asking for anything particularly special here. A newspaper or magazine that is the same as the print version, except that it has clickable external (and possibly) links. The page layout is done once for both print and electronic versions and I can't see it taking more than an hour for someone to put the links in (assuming their layout software doesn't already do that, which it probably does). Yes, they might produce an enhanced electronic version if it proves successful, but the ones that are available now aren't. Sign up for a free Zinio account, download the (also free) reader and they'll give you a handful of publications for free to try it out if you want to see for yourself.
The end-user convenience technology *is* new (eBook readers, iPad, etc), but the publishing has been going on for a long time now. If it isn't cost-effective now, it never will be.
If you like figures, then this spreadsheet: http://current.com/11bdg4c shows how things work in the music market at the moment.
Briefly, for a $10 CD sold retail, $8 goes to the various parts of the retail chain and the other $2 is split between the artist and the label depending on the particular deal they have. Sell that *same* CD through iTunes and $3.71 goes to Apple to run their distribution and retail end, while $6.29 goes to the record label. And the royalties for digital sales are often lower, meaning the artist actually gets less money.
Now tell me why the same thing isn't happening in the publishing business.