Time Inc. is sticking its neck out in a big way, announcing Wednesday its intention to make available tablet versions of its entire U.S. magazine lineup available by the end of the year. If the plans are successful that would be 21 titles in all, and it would also be the first publisher to bring its entire catalog online.
The company makes mention of “leading platforms,” which leads me to believe that it’s referring to iOS and Android. It has also made some of its magazines available on HP’s TouchPad — which runs WebOS — but it isn’t clear whether Time is including that in the guarantee.
Tabletized versions of magazines have apparently done well for Time. For the four titles currently available — Time, People, Sports Illustrated, and Fortune — as well as other content apps, downloads of the apps themselves have surpassed 11 million.
“Hundreds of thousands” of current print subscribers have elected to receive the tablet editions at no extra cost, and individual editions have been purchased more than 600,000 times.
Time says that “now is the time for us to make this bold commitment,” and indicates that advertiser interest is driving the move. It references in its announcement that research showed that “consumers place a high value on digital editions that include ads,” which is music to advertiser’s ears.
I welcome the news, as the tablet brings exciting ways to bring print to life. Is it the smartest move financially, though? That’s a little harder to answer. Apparently, Time’s doing well with its tablet editions, but anecdotal evidence seems to suggest that such success isn’t always universal.
[FULL DISCLOSURE: Time.com is Technologizer's advertising partner, and Harry writes a column for that site and contributes to TIME magazine. The company had no influence in the publishing of this story.]