Time Commits Big To Tablets for Its Magazines

By  |  Wednesday, August 3, 2011 at 3:50 pm

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.]


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2 Comments For This Post

  1. Magazine Design Says:

    Whether it's the smartest move financially is definitely the key question. To date, magazine publishers' experimentation with tablet editions has been given a lukewarm reception, at best. While tablets and e-readers may represent a significant portion of FUTURE revenue, the marketplace may not be sufficiently bought into the digital magazine format yet. Larger publishers are investing heavily in resources to produce digital editions and native apps, but the payoff of all those efforts is still largely unknown. A month or two ago, the founder of Rolling Stone said that tablet mags won't be relevant for publishers for "generations" (I believe that was the term he used), so it's entirely possible that the world isn't quite ready for them yet.

    Still, though, naysayers have been proven wrong time and again, so the first publishers to capitalize on an emerging revenue stream such as this one will have a head start on everyone else. My own personal feeling, though, is that creating consistently dynamite content should be job one — the delivery format should be far less of a focus than the editorial quality of the product itself. In any case, it'll be interesting to watch this all develop.

  2. ipad magazines Says:

    Its great that Time Magazine is now making their content available through out US because now a days most of the people are using their electronic devices especially their tablet PC's for reading books and magazines. iPad is the leading device used for reading magazines.