People magazine will now offer free iPad downloads to existing subscribers. Previously, subscribers were forced into paying twice for the same content. It costs $3.99 per issue on the iPad.
The latest version of the People iPad app has an “I’m a subscriber” button. A current People subscriber can enter their subscriber number, which is verified with Time’s servers. Once verified, the current issue can be downloaded for free.
Time Inc. fought for months with Apple to allow current print subscribers to download the magazine for free, says the NY Times.
Time convinced Apple to bypass their pay-per-issue model, allowing publishers to retain control of their subscription information, demographic profiles and other data. Publications can now charge users outside of the App Store, for content delivered within it.
Other Time properties like Sports Illustrated and Fortune are expected to follow suit. Other magazines may jump on the iPad bandwagon, since it allows them to expand their subscriber base.
A year’s subscription to People costs about $100. By making the app available free to subscribers, People is certain to see its download numbers on the iPad store rise. People had just under 2.3 million subscribers as of June 30.
Electronic distribution has its benefits. At least one third the overhead costs for traditional magazines and newspapers is tied to the production and distribution of paper-based products. Electronic distribution costs nearly nothing.
Content can be nearly “live”, in color, with video, animations and social media. It provides advertisers with behavioral targeted advertising. While web-based advertising generated only one-tenth the revenue from print, the iPad – so far – is delivering 5 times the CPM of web adverts.
Tablet publishing may have found a business model that’s similar to their print model; both subscriptions and advertising can contribute to the bottom line.
Rupert Murdock likes the subscription model for Tablets. News Corp. is launching a tablet-based news service this fall. The new digital-only newspaper would be managed and run out of the offices of News Corp.’s The New York Post and could start publishing by the end of the year, according to The Los Angeles Times. Pricing for the newspaper has not yet been announced.
Just 42% of Americans say the television set is a necessity. Last year it was 52%. Perhaps broadcasters should use blipverts. The train is leaving the station.
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