Time Inc. is reportedly in talks with Apple to let print subscribers access the iPad version of its magazines for free. According to a Wall Street Journal report, subscribers to Sports Illustrated, Time and Fortune magazines will be able to download the iPad app and use the app's built-in authentication scheme to identify them as print subscribers. This arrangement, already available for People magazine subscribers, will debut on Monday.
Apple introduced subscription-based pricing earlier this year, and many magazines now offer digital versions for a nominal fee separate from the cost of the print version. Parent company Time Warner took a different approach and extended its television-based "View Anywhere" model to its magazines. This outlook allows paying customers to access content across platforms -- cable customers can watch TV, and print magazine subscribers can read content on their iPad.
By bundling its digital version with the print version for one flat price, Time Inc. is trying to innovate in the struggling print media market. The media company will announce its Q1 financial earnings on Wednesday May 4, and this new subscription model may be a bright spot in what is expected to be a quarter of flat performance.