Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

Time Inc.’s Web Paywall, Explained

Quick follow up to the Time magazine paywall story. Here’s Time Inc. spokeswoman Dawn Bridges explaining the publisher’s policy–it will be title by title, but you’ll be seeing more walls in the future:

We’ve said for awhile that increasingly we’ll move content from the print (and now iPad) versions of our titles off of the web. With People, we haven’t had hardly any content from the magazine on the web for a long time. Our strategy is to use the web for breaking news and ‘commodity’ type of news; (news events of any type, stock prices, sports scores) and keep (most of) the features and longer analysis for the print publication and iPad versions.

So there you go.

Two quick notes:

  • For now, you can still get all of Sports Illustrated, Time Warner’s (TWX) other iPad title to date, for free on the Web. But you’re going to have to work very hard to find it. (Give up? Over here. UPDATE: Time Inc. folks tell me, through clenched teeth, that you weren’t supposed to get this week’s issue of SI on the Web for free yet. The publisher puts only back issues up on the Web, via SI’s “Vault” feature; someone put the wrong link up. They’ve since taken down the July 12 issue, and replaced it with an iTunes link to the SI app.
  • As Apple (AAPL) notes, Time’s free Web site works really well on the iPad’s Safari browser. So do almost all print publisher’s sites. Which means getting consumers to shell out for a paid app instead of the free Web will require more than exclusive content–you’re going to have to offer them a radically different product. We’re not close yet.

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I think the NSA has a job to do and we need the NSA. But as (physicist) Robert Oppenheimer said, “When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and argue about what to do about it only after you’ve had your technical success. That is the way it was with the atomic bomb.”

— Phil Zimmerman, PGP inventor and Silent Circle co-founder, in an interview with Om Malik