Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

Time Inc. Gets the Tablet Magazine Subscriptions It Wants–With HP

Time Inc., which has been unable to come to terms with Apple over subscriptions for digitized magazines, has found a company it can work with: Hewlett-Packard.

HP has agreed to let Time Warner’s publishing unit provide subscriptions for magazines on the device maker’s new tablet, due out this summer, according to a Time Inc. source.

Time Inc. will initially sell four magazines via the HP device: Sports Illustrated, Time, Fortune and People.

HP is about to show off the new device, built using Palm’s webOS platform, at an event today, so we should get a few more details then.

But for now the deal means that HP is the only tablet maker to give a big publisher the subscription terms it wants. Time Inc. and other publishers had expected to sell subscriptions via Apple’s iPad/iTunes ecosystem last summer, but those plans fell apart, and negotiations haven’t gone far since then. The crucial sticking point was control and access to subscribers’ billing information and other data that are crucial to publishers’ business model.

Publishers are also expecting to work with Google and its Android platform, but have yet to announce anything.

It’s worth noting that this arrangement is between HP and Time Inc., and not Next Issue Media, the joint venture that is also supposed to represent publishers in their discussions with tablet makers.

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