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Time Inc. Signs Magazine Deal With Apple 83

Posted by timothy
from the tradition-be-damned dept.
redletterdave writes "Time Inc., the largest magazine publisher in the U.S., has decided to embrace digital distribution. On Thursday, Time Inc. announced that it will make all of its magazines available over the Newsstand application built by Apple. The agreement was confirmed by Time Inc. CEO Laura Lang and Apple's senior VP of Internet software development Eddy Cue. The two company executives agreed to allow Apple Newsstand users to subscribe to more than 20 magazines owned by Time Inc., including Sports Illustrated, People, and Entertainment Weekly."
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Time Inc. Signs Magazine Deal With Apple

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  • by tomhath (637240) on Thursday June 14, 2012 @06:14PM (#40329265)
    Time already offers digital subscriptions. [timeinc.com] All this does is add the ability to subscribe through Newsstand. A nice win for Apple, but it sounds like Time got the concessions they wanted in order to make the deal.
  • Wake me up .. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Idimmu Xul (204345) on Thursday June 14, 2012 @06:22PM (#40329345) Homepage Journal

    when Apple stop being Mormons and you can buy Playboy!

  • Re:Makes sense... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Dcnjoe60 (682885) on Thursday June 14, 2012 @06:50PM (#40329581)

    And your proof is? Mike Daisy's narratives?

    And your proof that Apple is doing anything worse than its competition is? The competition's reports on their contractors' work conditions?

    Doing no worse than one's competition is not really a defense or a moral position. It just means that you aren't the only bad person out there, but it doesn't justify what you are doing. Prisons are full of people who didn't do anything worse than somebody else.

  • by catmistake (814204) on Thursday June 14, 2012 @07:07PM (#40329749) Journal

    Newsstand, which was introduced in last year's iOS 5, was a great idea: Put all of our favorite news sources all in one place, and let readers buy magazines from the app just like they'd buy a magazine off a newsstand. There was hope that this new purchasing and subscription service would be journalism's savior. Finally, a way for journalism to be profitable.

    Problem was, by the time Newsstand was released, it was a dud app. The app worked fine, but it was a dud because none of the magazines you actually want to read were on there.

    No, no, no. What they are doing is not digital distribution of the same content found in the printed periodicals. What they are doing is forcing down the consumers throat some one's sick idea of what periodicals should be in the future as seen from a Harry Potter movie a decade ago. The paradigm sucks royally. Every single new issue is a discrete new application, not a document. While I find that detail bizarre, in theory its not a terrible idea. But the implementation is horrifying. Its so far from what it should be its absurd. Newsstand isn't failing because of a thin roster, Newsstand is failing because the implementation is a terrible idea. A subscription through Newsstand is nothing like a real subscription. Its not even like the web model, which at least has become familiar. The subscriber is forced to learn to operate a new application every single edition. This is anathema.

    Even operating systems that function in an entirely different manner do not do this: Windows is actually very similar to Ubuntu or Macintosh from a users perspective because they are all using common functions at the desktop level, in effect while the colors and shadows may be different, its still all menus, windows, icons, clicking and dragging. What Apple and the publishers that are embracing the Newsstand model are doing is madness... new applications that are nothing like anything that has come before! And each new edition (app) has the potential, and in practice it is so, to be entirely different from the last, making anything learned about how the last edition functions worthless. I understand the frustration of users, and it is not what the article is claiming, and I can only imagine the strain on resources that each new edition of a periodical poses for publishers.... they now need a development team.

    I'm not sure they are still around, but once there was an Austin based startup called "NewsStand, Inc.," whose model was exactly what publishers and subscribers would suspect, but they were ahead of their time. What you saw in their reader was exactly what you saw in the printed edition. The subscriber model was very similar, if not identical, to the traditional model. I'm not certain, but I think Zinio has a similar model to this. Originally, viewing pdf's on a screen wasn't ideal: the software and hardware was slow to respond to the users commands. But now the software is pretty good and the hardware can handle fast screen redraws and is nimble enough to keep up with the user. pdf's used to require a "pdf warning" next to the links so as not to upset the user downloading and not expecting it, which would tie up their browser and possibly crash it because of the file size. This has been mitigated by the steady progress of technology: our browsers, readers, and graphics card and network connections can now handle the graphics rich content, and it just doesn't bother anyone anymore. Many ebook readers (those reading, not necessarily the hardware) actually prefer to read a document that is identical to the printed piece.

    The mistake Apple and publishers are making is to assume that the old publishing model is broken or outdated. It isn't! It is merely being encroached upon by the web model (namely, free content), but is fundamentally sound. People, for the most part, like magazines and newspapers the way they are. The idea to move from a document based model to an application based mode

  • by Kergan (780543) on Thursday June 14, 2012 @07:08PM (#40329759)

    Dude!... Write a fucking backend.

    Make it process orders in one step for 400M users -- it needs to scale accordingly, btw.

    Make it deal with refunds, chargebacks, reverse-chargebacks, complaints, fraud, yada yada, pretty much anything that can go wrong when you do business.

    Make it manage subscriptions, including cancellations. And rentals. And DRM.

    Make it deal with taxes in 150+ countries, including local variations where applicable.

    Make it do your monthly accounting, including subcontractor payments.

    Make it provide all sorts of metrics to your subcontractors, too.

    Oh, and QA test anything your subcontractors send you, too. Check for malware, crashes, etc., anything that might make those millions of end-users unsatisfied.

    Do all that, and more, and you'll appreciate how 30% is a bargain.

    Alternatively, just shut up. Because you've absolutely no fucking clue how hard it is to create and operate a backend.

  • by Nerdfest (867930) on Thursday June 14, 2012 @08:10PM (#40330355)

    Part of the deal will be that they won't be allowed to disclose the numbers.

    People jumping on iTunes publishing is the same as developers jumping into Apple's walled app garden. It's short term greed over longer term benefits for consumers, personal computing in general, and even the developers and publishers profiting from it in the longer term. Allowing Apple to gain market dominance will only lock everyone in even further, at which point you will have very little negotiating power.

    It would be nice to see some companies show a little social conscience, or at least thinking beyond the next quarter.

  • by BasilBrush (643681) on Thursday June 14, 2012 @10:57PM (#40331399)

    The fundamental idea behind your argument is based on a fallacy.

    Every single new issue is a discrete new application, not a document.

    That's simply not true. Each TITLE is an app. That app downloads new content once per day or once per month depending on whether it's a newspaper or a magazine. It DOES NOT download a new app each time. Thus the UI does not change each time, only the content.

    Why use an app as the mechanism rather than a PDF? Simple... before Apple even looked at doing periodicals, publishes had taken it into their own hands and published apps via the ordinary App Store. So Apple just gave them a special folder to put them in, a special area on the app store, and a few APIs to manage subscriptions and downloading of issues.

    Ideally I'd say that the iBooks Author system would be the basis of an ideal system. EPub based, not PDF. But that would involve re-writing history, and Apple forcing a system on publishers who'd already chosen another way.

  • Re:Makes sense... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by jo_ham (604554) <joham999@gma[ ]com ['il.' in gap]> on Friday June 15, 2012 @12:24AM (#40331817)

    And your proof is? Mike Daisy's narratives?

    And your proof that Apple is doing anything worse than its competition is? The competition's reports on their contractors' work conditions?

    Doing no worse than one's competition is not really a defense or a moral position. It just means that you aren't the only bad person out there, but it doesn't justify what you are doing. Prisons are full of people who didn't do anything worse than somebody else.

    That wasn't his point and you know it. The supposed "moral superiority" of Apple's competitors is frequently used as a justification for hating them or for boycotting their products (it's not difficult to find "this is why I don't buy Apple and only use XYZ's products instead" comments here on /. and elsewhere) when in reality the alternatives are no different, and sometimes worse.

    This does not excuse either position of course; we've got to continue to push for elimination of worker and environmental exploitation.

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