Sports Illustrated unveils another digital app subscription plan
Time Inc’s Sports Illustrated unveiled the details of another subscription plan for the Samsung Galaxy tablet computer and Android based smartphones — the print version of its parent Time Warner Inc’s “TV everywhere” idea currently touted by Chief Executive Jeffrey Bewkes. Like TV Everywhere, magazines everywhere charges one price for access to content across print and digital platforms.
The SI digital and print subscription plan comes on the heels of a Time Inc announcement about a similar subscription plan for SI and People for Hewlett-Packard’s forthcoming tablet device the TouchPad.
“The key to the media business is habituation,” said Time Inc EVP and Chief Digital Officer Randall Rothenberg.
Indeed, the SI digital app subscription plan is available everywhere with one glaring exception: Apple’s iTunes store.
That was the elephant in the room this morning when Time Inc executives showed off the SI app on various devices. Currently, only single copy editions of SI are available on the iPad and iPhone. It’s a sore point among publishing executives who depend on subscriptions for circulation and more important, advertising revenue.
“We love Apple,” Rothenberg said. “We have a great desire to sell subscriptions in the iTunes store and we’re confident we can sell subscriptions at some point in the iTunes store.”
The sticking point between Apple and media executives is over the control of subscriber data in that Apple wants to control most of it. Publishers are loath to give up subscriber data such as names, addresses and credit cards, which helps them court advertisers and market new product to existing readers.
For now, Time Inc’s plan is to press on with other tablet computers and smartphones despite the wild popularity of Apple’s iPad and iPhone. “One thing we can be confident about,” said Rothenberg, “it doesn’t matter what kind of store you got… but if you have great products in the store.”