Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

More Subscriptions for Time Inc: Sports Illustrated/Google Deal Coming

Yesterday Time Inc. announced a deal to offer digital magazine subscriptions on Hewlett-Packard’s new tablet. Tomorrow it will have a deal to announce with Google.

This one will be more limited than yesterday’s announcement: A source tells me Time Inc. is launching a subscription offering on Google’s Android platform for a single title–Sports Illustrated–but that the plan is to expand the program over time.

But in both cases, the subscriptions are to be powered by a platform Time Inc. has built and will operate itself.

Time Inc. has used Sports Illustrated as its Google guinea pig in the past: The magazine was the publisher’s first entry into Google’s Chrome App store late last year.

I don’t have other details for now, except to note that this is separate from the newsstand concept that Next Issue Media, the publishers’ joint venture/consortium, wants to launch this year.

Subscriptions for tablet magazines have been a sore spot for publishers since last summer, when Apple rejected Sports Illustrated’s plans to sell subscriptions for its iPad magazine app. Time Inc. and its parent company Time Warner have been vocal about their disappointment with Apple, and their desire to work with other platforms that will give them the terms they want.

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Just as the atom bomb was the weapon that was supposed to render war obsolete, the Internet seems like capitalism’s ultimate feat of self-destructive genius, an economic doomsday device rendering it impossible for anyone to ever make a profit off anything again. It’s especially hopeless for those whose work is easily digitized and accessed free of charge.

— Author Tim Kreider on not getting paid for one’s work