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The Wall Street Journal reports that Apple and Time Inc. have finally reached a deal to allow subscribers to the print editions of Time’s major magazines to access the iPad versions of those magazines free of charge. The deal breaks a months-long impasse that initially focused on paid subscription models but has also included accommodations for print subscribers. The two companies had reached an agreement for People last August, but Time’s other titles have remained outside of that agreement until now.
Starting Monday, subscribers to Sports Illustrated, Time and Fortune magazines will be able to access the iPad editions via the apps, which will be able to authenticate them as subscribers. Time Inc.’s People magazine already had such an arrangement, but readers of most publications have had to pay separately for the iPad version regardless of their subscriber status.
According to the report, Time and Apple remain in disagreement over plans to offer digital subscriptions to iPad editions. Apple has of course rolled out an in app subscription program in which it collects 30% of all subscription revenue and gives subscribers direct control over whether their information is shared with publishers, and while several newspapers have begun offering content under the program, magazines have been more reluctant to do so.
Time Inc. and other major publishers have yet to agree with Apple on terms for selling subscriptions to their iPad editions, the next step beyond making them available to existing print subscribers. Talks are hung up on Apple’s resistance to sharing information with publishers about their iPad customers, which publishers say is critical to applying the “TV everywhere” model to magazines.
In the absence of subscription plans, most users are stuck with purchasing single issues of their magazines for the iPad, a much more expensive proposition that has led to weak sales figures for most publications.