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Time makes deal with Apple for free iPad mags for print subs

updated 11:50 pm EDT, Sun May 1, 2011

Time allowed to offer iPad mags for free

Time was said on Sunday night to have brokered a crucial deal with Apple to allow free downloads of iPad magazines for existing print subscribers. The plan, effective May 2, would let those subscribing to Sports Illustrated and others avoid having to buy digital versions from iTunes. Executives told the Wall Street Journal that Apple's Internet services VP Eddy Cue had been talking for "some time" to hash out a concession.

It's unknown if other publishers will get the same deal. Apple declined to comment.

The deal could signal a rare willingness to strike a balance at Apple. Its new subscription plans have created a rift with publishers that wanted to offer iPad magazines as bonuses for print users. Under the rules due to take effect in June, magazines like Time's as well as The Economist and other majors were faced with the prospect of an arbitrary split between their print and digital subscriptions since users could only subscribe to one or the other. Many have objected to Apple's refusal to hand over subscriber information to better target advertising; allowing free iTunes copies for print subscribers would be a partial step that would keep targeted ads but guarantee digital access.

Apple chief Steve Jobs may have been under pressure to make the deal. He has regularly championed the concept of a free press and has courted major traditional publishers in an attempt to make the iPad the de facto choice for magazine reading, including early access to the digital-only publication The Daily. Losing Time or others would not only jeopardize the iPad's role in that view but could encourage companies to publish first on Android, where the market is smaller but subscriber privacy controls are looser.



By Electronista Staff
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Comments

  1. Peter Bonte

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Aug 2001

    0

    print subscribers

    Was never a problem in the first place

  1. dliup

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Jan 2006

    -1

    wtf?

    Apple subscription services allows existing print subscribers to access content for free. There's nothing new about this.

  1. Feathers

    Grizzled Veteran

    Joined: Oct 1999

    -1

    Free delivery

    It is understandable that Apple does not want to become the unpaid delivery boy for digital content. In truth, the potential free-in-free-out aspect of the AppStore was bound to attract those who had no intention of ever giving Apple a dime. It is commonsense that Apple are working to find a balance that at least ensures that their download services break even whilst driving customers to purchase their hardware. The only long-term problem is that history has shown that "it's not the hardware, stupid!" Maybe it will be, this time.

  1. gudin

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: May 2000

    -2

    If only

    I'd be more interested in subscription plans that let me subscribe without the print editions at all. But they'd have to provide at least the same content (preferably enhanced). I'd rather not kill trees and have to deal with all the excess paper in my trash/recycling.

    Seems to me this should be cheaper for the print media than actually having to go through the whole publishing/delivery process.

    In reality though, I now subscribe to virtually nothing, because there is no point. So ad supported iOS apps make more sense to me that subscriptions anyway, but your mileage will likely vary.

  1. gudin

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: May 2000

    -2

    If only

    I'd be more interested in subscription plans that let me subscribe without the print editions at all. But they'd have to provide at least the same content (preferably enhanced). I'd rather not kill trees and have to deal with all the excess paper in my trash/recycling.

    Seems to me this should be cheaper for the print media than actually having to go through the whole publishing/delivery process.

    In reality though, I now subscribe to virtually nothing, because there is no point. So ad supported iOS apps make more sense to me than subscriptions anyway, but your mileage will likely vary.

  1. gudin

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: May 2000

    -2

    If only

    I'd be more interested in subscription plans that let me subscribe without the print editions at all. But they'd have to provide at least the same content (preferably enhanced). I'd rather not kill trees and have to deal with all the excess paper in my trash/recycling.

    Seems to me this should be cheaper for the print media than actually having to go through the whole publishing/delivery process. (not to mention the resources used)

    In reality though, I now subscribe to virtually nothing, because there is no point. So ad supported iOS apps make more sense to me than subscriptions anyway, but your mileage will likely vary.

  1. testudo

    Forum Regular

    Joined: Aug 2001

    -1

    @gudin

    blame Apple and their silly requirements on subscriptions and the app store.

  1. testudo

    Forum Regular

    Joined: Aug 2001

    -1

    Re: Free delivery

    It is understandable that Apple does not want to become the unpaid delivery boy for digital content. In truth, the potential free-in-free-out aspect of the AppStore was bound to attract those who had no intention of ever giving Apple a dime.

    Except many of these publishers never asked Apple to be their delivery boy. Apple foisted that upon the publishers.

    The only reason this type of compromise even needs to exist is because Apple wants to control all the cards, and they're finding out there are others who have some too and won't give them up. Time/Life still isn't doing subscriptions digitally yet because of Apple's onerous terms. And they can't roll them up themselves for Apple will just block the app's publication (yeah, not too much power there).

    It is commonsense that Apple are working to find a balance that at least ensures that their download services break even whilst driving customers to purchase their hardware. The only long-term problem is that history has shown that "it's not the hardware, stupid!" Maybe it will be, this time.

    That's using the supposed "Apple is breaking even on their iTMS and AppStores" theory. Unfortunately there's no actual proof Apple isn't raking in cash left and right on these stores.

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