Monday, May 02, 2011

Time Inc. and Apple make a deal: print subscribers get iPad editions free

Time Inc. and Apple Inc. have apparently come to an arrangement about serving its existing subscribers on the iPad. It was reported today from multiple sources that this breaks an impasse between the two companies that may augur well for all magazines being delivered to subscribers on tablets. (It doesn't yet solve the problem of selling new subscriptions for iPads and retaining access to customer data.) The Wall Street Journal reports that
Starting Monday, subscribers to Sports Illustrated, Time and Fortune magazines will be able to access the iPad editions via the apps, which will be able to authenticate them as subscribers. Time Inc.'s People magazine already had such an arrangement, but readers of most publications have had to pay separately for the iPad version regardless of their subscriber status...
Time Inc. and other major publishers have yet to agree with Apple on terms for selling subscriptions to their iPad editions, the next step beyond making them available to existing print subscribers. Talks are hung up on Apple's resistance to sharing information with publishers about their iPad customers, which publishers say is critical to applying the "TV everywhere" model to magazines.
The standoff has left most magazines with only one way to sell titles on the iPad: one issue at a time, which publishers say is asking too much of readers, particularly of the weekly magazines that form the core of Time Inc.'s business. In recent months, a number of the Time Inc. executives involved in talks with distribution partners like Apple and Google Inc. have left the company, leaving what some see as a gaping void in a critical area.
Time Inc. executives say Mr. Edelson, who is Time Inc.'s general counsel, has quietly been spearheading talks with Apple for some time and meeting frequently with Eddy Cue, Apple's vice president of Internet services. They say the latest deal to make iPad editions free for print subscribers is a sign the two sides are moving closer.
Apple declined to comment.

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