When the iPad first shipped in April 2010, there was a lot of talk that the first real tablet computer would play a pivotal role in saving print, newspapers and magazines, which have been in terminal decline for more than a decade. Now, with digital-only subs still not gaining traction, we’re seeing some publisher pullback.
TG Daily reports that Time, Inc., publishers of Time, People and Sports Illustrated magazines, has reached a deal with Apple that will require a print subscription in order to receive the digital versions. That is, consumers much agree to receive a hunk of dead tree in their snail mail boxes before they can get the iPad et al version.
Virtually every other magazine and newspaper publisher, including The Wall Street Journal and New York Times, offer customers digital-only subscriptions.
The other interesting tidbit here is that Time is avoiding Apple’s 30 percent cut or, at least, that’s what we’re all assuming.
Processed wood pulp forever!
As print publications continue to wither and wane, it bears repeating that none of the digital great white hopes — Wired, Project, The Daily, etc. — have really taken off and become hits. Thereupon, is Time’s approach a feasible way to extend and enhance the old business model?
I assume the answer is no. Then again, maybe the real question is is there enough juice in Time’s approach to buy them more, well, time to finally work out the secret sauce recipe that long-form journalism needs…
What’s your take?