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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 Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 14, 2012 @06:00PM (#40329167)

    Rotten fruit.

  • 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.
    • by cpu6502 (1960974) on Thursday June 14, 2012 @06:41PM (#40329501)

      Beat me to it.
      The summary "embraced digital distribution" makes it sound like Time, Inc has never provided e-magazines before. But most of them are available through Amazon. Or online websites. The REAL news here is that Jobs was charging 30% and Time said "no" to that. The new Apple arranged for lower rates.

      • until other devs demand the same lower rates?
        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by Nerdfest (867930)

          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

      • The REAL news here is that Jobs was charging 30% and Time said "no" to that. The new Apple arranged for lower rates.

        Not quite. The rates are staying the same for the rest of the publishers.

        And as far as I'm aware, this new deal only affects Time, Inc. just in time for Apple's WWDC 2012, which has already started and which is ending this Friday. After all, even if Apple's makes zero percent in commission from Time, Inc, the illusion that Time, Inc. is on board with Apple's onerous terms may persuade other publishers to accept those onerous terms themselves.

      • Apple arranged for lower rates.

        You made that up.

        What's really changed? Apple now allows magazines access to customer details, provided the customer opts in. That, and the iPad has seen huge growth.

  • by jbwolfe (241413) on Thursday June 14, 2012 @06:21PM (#40329333) Homepage
    have been the issue all along. And Time have done the right thing by holding out for better terms. Thirty percent (though not sure if that's on a continuing basis, regardless) is absurd. Relevant quote:

    "They want you to be subscribing to them, and the last time we looked they weren't making the magazines," Bewkes said of Apple.

    • by busyqth (2566075)

      have been the issue all along. And Time have done the right thing by holding out for better terms. Thirty percent (though not sure if that's on a continuing basis, regardless) is absurd.

      Nothing has changed there. Time will be paying 30%, at least according to Apple:

      Neither Apple nor Time Inc. would discuss the exact financial terms of the agreement, but Mr. Cue said Time Inc.’s heft did not influence them. “We offer the same terms to everyone no matter how big or how small,” he said.

      • by jbwolfe (241413)
        Not convinced. This:

        Neither Apple nor Time Inc. would discuss the exact financial terms of the agreement, but Mr. Cue said Time Inc.'s heft did not influence them. "We offer the same terms to everyone no matter how big or how small," he said.

        does not mean the rate wasn't negotiated lower, with other concessions on behalf of Apple. Time has a huge library. Key word: "offer"... The terms are necessarily complex with a deal that involves this much money.

        • Time Warner (TWX) was valued at 34B today. If Apple really really wanted Time's offerings, they could buy them out.

          30% for access to the Apple market is a bargain. I know I won't play around with paper magazines (my apartment's metal mailboxes let rain soak the contents sometimes) and I'm not playing around with entrusting other sites to have my credit card info, using their online service to fetch or read a magazine etc. I'm far far far more likely to buy a subscription that I can read on my iPhone / iPad
        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          by BasilBrush (643681)

          You should be convinced. Apple hasn't budged on it's 30% for any media. It's across the board. Take it or leave it.

          Why do you think The Beatles were absent from the iTunes store for so long? They thought they had the clout to get Apple to negotiate terms. But they didn't.

    • 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 DogDude (805747)
        30% is absurd. Amazon charges 15%, and I think even that's too high.
        • by busyqth (2566075)

          30% is absurd. Amazon charges 15%, and I think even that's too high.

          Good to know we can hear something authoritative from a subject matter expert, you publishing magnate, you!

        • by BasilBrush (643681) on Thursday June 14, 2012 @09:59PM (#40331109)

          Apple is up front and honest about what their take is. It's 30%. Amazon has deceptive practices - they've fooled you and they've fooled many more.

          A $9.99 ebook, same price at both Amazon and Apple iBooks. Apple takes $2.99. Amazon takes $4.89. (49%)

          http://andrewhy.de/amazons-markup-of-digital-delivery-to-indie-authors-is-129000/ [andrewhy.de]

          Speaking as yet another person who does actually know about digital downloads, having sold them myself, Apple's 30% is indeed a bargain. Prior to them being on the scene the distributor for my mobile software downloads was taking 43%.

          Anyone who says Apple's 30% is unreasonable is simply showing that they don't know what they are talking about.

        • 30% is absurd. Amazon charges 15%, and I think even that's too high.

          That's odd - all I can find is that they lowered their share from 70% to 30% in June 2010. Care to back up your claims?

      • by jbwolfe (241413)
        I take it you work for apple. (been there since 2007, maybe- too young, too naÃve.

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

        Yes, of course. All your content are belong to us.... Regardless of whether you respect Time Inc.'s collection, I'm sure you'll disagree with me that you yourself have "no fucking clue how hard it is to create and operate" a respectable journalistic enterprise. Thanks for your rational discussion- were you ever to persuade me of the validity of your argument, you lost me suggesting I've "absolutely no fucking clue". Fuc

        • by StuartHankins (1020819) on Thursday June 14, 2012 @09:22PM (#40330905)
          I do know something about publishing, having been Director of Production for a National magazine in the mid-90's. 30% is not a bargain... it's a STEAL for the publisher! Why? Waste from press runs, torn/mutilated copies, backorders, 3-month trials (counts as a subscriber to advertisers and the Audit Bureau of Circulations even though they didn't pay), subscriber audits, unexpected run outs because an issue was popular, people upset because you don't have a particular issue etc etc etc. All of that goes away with digital.

          No more bluelines, no subscription department, no bank runs, no handling cash. Your people can work from anywhere in the world. Put a button in your mag to allow the reader to post on Twitter or Facebook to gather more eyes. It's a steal, I tell you. Apple has the most eyes on digital media right now.
        • by Kergan (780543)

          I take it you work for apple.

          No... But I used to work on back-end systems.

          Yes, of course. All your content are belong to us....

          Personally I'm more than happy with the idea that my details aren't passed along to Time's, since my trust in most US corporations is about zero.

          Regardless of whether you respect Time Inc.'s collection, I'm sure you'll disagree with me that you yourself have "no fucking clue how hard it is to create and operate" a respectable journalistic enterprise.

          i don't disagree, actually. I do know this, however: Times, like virtually every other company that tried to create a well integrated back-end system, has been eating crow for years -- and it is failing.

          Businesses that get the non-trivial stuff working properly are far and between, and absolutely no one --not even the bi

      • by Algae_94 (2017070)
        That is all very expensive to produce, but do you think 30% of every sale is justified? Really, if writing software to do things takes up 30% of all economic activity, why the hell are we embracing that? The answer is because it doesn't. 30% covers the costs with a massive profit margin for Apple. Are they justified with that profit margin just because they wrote it? Sure, but only until a better deal is offered by someone else (or they use their clout to prevent better deals).
        • If you can do better, do it. I'm sure if you can work out the logistics that people will flock to your service. No, really, back up your claims and just do it. I will applaud you, because what Apple is doing hasn't been matched by any of the other companies in this area, and quite a few of them have a HUGE amount of expertise in the industry. If you can beat them, my hat's off to you.
        • do you think 30% of every sale is justified?

          Speaking for the app store: don't forget, Apple will still take on stuff that's free. 30% of free isn't much.
          Overall the average app sale is $1.39. So Apple is making 42c.

          The answer is because it doesn't. 30% covers the costs with a massive profit margin for Apple.

          It covers both of course. Costs and profit. Apple is a business not a charity. As are Apples current and potential competitors.

          Funnily enough everyone I hear of in the business knows it to be a bargain. It's only people who have no experience, only opinions, who think it's unreasonable.

        • by Kergan (780543)

          That is all very expensive to produce, but do you think 30% of every sale is justified? Really, if writing software to do things takes up 30% of all economic activity, why the hell are we embracing that? The answer is because it doesn't.

          Indeed. I'd wager it's closer to half in most of the industries I've worked in. Think it through: order processing, managing fraud, managing supplies and inventory, provisioning, shipping, accounting, the list goes on and on. If you were in an industry that delivered goods, you'd also add organizing your production chain based on orders to the mess. All of that automated for 30%? Go run a business for a while. You'll then appreciate how cheap it is.

      • by archont (1215492)

        Sounds like a 1-month to 2-month project, 6000 polish zloty (about 1700 USD) and it's done.

    • by jamrock (863246) on Thursday June 14, 2012 @07:41PM (#40330077)
      When Apple announced the terms for Newsstand, the 30% cut was not the major bone of contention between the magazine publishers and Apple. It was the fact that Apple refused to pass on subscriber information automatically. Instead, subscribers had to click an "Allow" button in a dialog box asking if they wanted their personal information sent along to the publishers. The publishers were outraged that Apple made the process opt-in, dramatically reducing the treasure trove of information they could sell to advertisers.

      I have no idea if Apple made concessions to Time on the issue of subscriber privacy, but knowing them I think it's unlikely. As far as Apple is concerned, folks with iTunes accounts are Apple's customers, and subscriptions through Newsstand are just some of the services that they offer. I'm actually with Apple on this one. The terms for Newsstand make it clear that subscribers should have a choice about the disposition of their personal information, while the publishers treat it as something to which they are automatically entitled.
      • by jbwolfe (241413)

        I have no idea if Apple made concessions to Time on the issue of subscriber privacy, but knowing them I think it's unlikely.

        Neither do I. Were I Time, I'd have held out for terms that favor me. Why let apple be king? If I produce valuable content (apple does not, emphatically), I can choose to play or not. I contend that Apple's terms were unsuitable- this is contained within the world of iOS, not the WHOLE world of digital content. Let Time make its own digital delivery scheme- in or out of Apple's.

        I'm actually with Apple on this one. The terms for Newsstand make it clear that subscribers should have a choice about the disposition of their personal information

        Is this about privacy, or extorting content providers? On Slashdot, folks hate Microsoft for the power they wield- does Apple get a

        • On Slashdot, folks hate Microsoft for the power they wield- does Apple get a pass?

          You're kidding! Where have you been for the last 10 years? The main target of Slashdotters bile has been Apple for a long time now. Microsoft rarely warrants a mention any more.

          The Slashdot mob hate commercial success.

        • by tlhIngan (30335)

          Neither do I. Were I Time, I'd have held out for terms that favor me. Why let apple be king? If I produce valuable content (apple does not, emphatically), I can choose to play or not. I contend that Apple's terms were unsuitable- this is contained within the world of iOS, not the WHOLE world of digital content. Let Time make its own digital delivery scheme- in or out of Apple's.

          Because Apple has an audience, that's why. Time actually was available for iOS - it's just that they had to do their own app, and i

    • Thirty percent is absurd.

      Said like someone who has absolutely no clue what they're talking about.

      Giving up just 30% - keeping 70% - is insanely awesome. On the physical side, work for a publisher and find out how much it costs to print, warehouse, and ship a publication, not to mention that you only get a percentage of the price (typically around 40%-ish of cover) through the distribution channel (after all, stores need to make money so they get a cut of the price...). I won't bother pointing out how your complaint doesn't hold wat

    • Thirty percent (though not sure if that's on a continuing basis, regardless) is absurd.

      And yet it's the same Amazon is asking, all allusions to the opposite aside (and before Apple came to the market they gave 30%).

  • 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!

  • 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

    • . The subscriber is forced to learn to operate a new application every single edition.

      Huh? Never have used Newstand but how hard can it be on an iPad? You have a limited number of controls / activities. Once you've clicked and swiped you're done. Am I missing something?

      • He's complaining that it's not like a PDF. I might have complained as well because I had to familiarize myself with how to navigate their way. On the plus side, the Mad fold-in works just like it does on paper, which I think justifies that move.

        His complaint doesn't really add up to a whole lot.

        • He's complaining that it's not like a PDF. I might have complained as well because I had to familiarize myself with how to navigate their way. On the plus side, the Mad fold-in works just like it does on paper, which I think justifies that move.

          His complaint doesn't really add up to a whole lot.

          Not quite. The complaint is that they are advertising these subscriptions as something they are not. The content is not the same. What you are getting with the Apple Newsstand app subscriptions is a whole new multimedia experience. Some may argue that it is better, but my argument is that there was nothing wrong with a document-based model, and that an application-based model for periodicals is, in practice, flawed. Now you must face the new bugs every new application is subject to, without updates, because

          • The content is not the same. What you are getting with the Apple Newsstand app subscriptions is a whole new multimedia experience

            What do you mean by 'not the same'? Do you mean that if you buy both the digital and the dead tree version you'll get more content, or do you just mean that they're taking advantage of the media being different?

            Some may argue that it is better, but my argument is that there was nothing wrong with a document-based mode....

            That's why I said what I did. In the Mad Magazine, for example, you're able to do the fold-in. You can't do that with, for example, a PDF version. If anything, the interactivity opens some interesting doors. I like magazines about Movie VFX, for example. I'd love to be able to see a full res ph

            • What do you mean by 'not the same'?

              I mean they are so completely different that you couldn't consider one a version of the other, and it certainly doesn't fit what I would colloqually call the "digital version of the print version." To make the point only, if instead what you receieved was an audio file completely duplicated the entire content in computerized vocalizations, it would also be a digital representation of the original content, but it would not be the same, nor would I consider it "the" digital version.

              In the Mad Magazine, for example, you're able to do the fold-in. You can't do that with, for example, a PDF version.

              I disagree... with a pdf

              • I mean they are so completely different that you couldn't consider one a version of the other, and it certainly doesn't fit what I would colloqually call the "digital version of the print version." To make the point only, if instead what you receieved was an audio file completely duplicated the entire content in computerized vocalizations, it would also be a digital representation of the original content, but it would not be the same, nor would I consider it "the" digital version.

                I'm confused, are you saying you bought a magazine from the News Stand and it turned out to be an audio book?

                I disagree... with a pdf version, if enabled, you could print out the fold-in.

                Ummmm... okay. You seriously think that's a viable alternative?

                Further, they are requiring publishers to hire development teams to remanipulate the content into these things...

                You have to do that anyway.

                ...but on the other hand it is straining publishers' resources...

                No, it's not. They have to mess around with the content to get it to fit properly on the tablet no matter what they do. Should they decide just to use the vanilla tools and plunk what they've got into Apple's format, or spend a few extra $$$ to make it more interesting, that's their choice. You could make

                • I'm confused, are you saying you bought a magazine from the News Stand and it turned out to be an audio book?

                  Obviously you are. No, of course not... I was making a point. You almost got it, though. If I had done this, it would also be a digital version of a magazine, but it would be essentially so distant from the original printed version that you couldn't refer to it as the authoritative digital version, which is what Apple is trying to do with the content in their Newsstand app. Its metaphor, you see? If this existed, and it might, neither Apple nor publishers could pass it off as a replacement for the printed v

                  • If I had done this, it would also be a digital version of a magazine, but it would be essentially so distant from the original printed version that you couldn't refer to it as the authoritative digital version... Its metaphor, you see?

                    Yes, I get the metaphor. But since you've mentioned having a dozen or so of these magazines I was hoping you'd provide an actual example of the content being different instead of just going "oooh they're soooOOoooOooo different!"

                    mmmkay... my response stops right here. Its clear there is little point in responding further to your posts: you just outed yourself as a troll.

                    Well gee golly gosh, good thing for you I had that early in the post instead of putting it at the end. You might have had to think hard to generate some of those rationalizations before brushing me off!

                    I'm going to ask you again: Do you really think that in the context of digital

                    • You already did, catmistake. You've read a dozen of these publications, so let's hear about how they were nothing like their paper counter-parts. I especially want to hear about the one that was more fun to print.

                      Or is my trolling causng you amnesia?

                  • Psst: It'd help your case a lot to talk about the twelve publications you read.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by BasilBrush (643681)

      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

      • 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.

        You are incorrect. Each new edition is a new discrete app. The framing app, the Apple Newsstand outer layer, operates more like a folder, and the frames for the individual publications are alse like a folder. But the new editions are indeed discrete applications themselves.

        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.

        I like ePubs are nice for some books, but for periodicals, IMO, pdf is ideal. This is the model most publishers have already embraced prior to Apple's Newsstand being released. The reason is pretty obvious: no extra work for publishers. T

        • Each new edition is a new discrete app. The framing app, the Apple Newsstand outer layer, operates more like a folder, and the frames for the individual publications are alse like a folder. But the new editions are indeed discrete applications themselves.

          As I said, you are mistaken. I'm a paid-up registered developer and I have access to the documentation. Obviously I can't link you to that, but this article gives a broad outline.

          http://www.macstories.net/stories/ios-5-newsstand-overview/ [macstories.net]

          As I said, each title is an app. That app gets notified when there is a new issue. And that app downloads the content for that issue. Your concept of one app per issue is just plain wrong. That's not how Newstand works.

          Now if you have any questions I'd be happy to answer t

    • One reason why they are doing this: because this way, their content is much more difficult to pirate.

      Automatic extraction or conversion to e.g. PDF cannot be implemented.

      • One reason why they are doing this: because this way, their content is much more difficult to pirate.

        Automatic extraction or conversion to e.g. PDF cannot be implemented.

        PDF also has standard security features to prevent viewing, printing, copying or extracting any content, depending on which features are implemented. It is not trivial for the layman to bypass these features.

        • True, but I was thinking more about organized piracy. It is easy to write a tool that automatically flips pages, and copy them to another format. It is much more difficult when page-flipping is a non-standard process.

          • How hard is it to suck content out of an application? There are many utilities that do this. You don't need to run the app to get at it, don't need a "page flipping" tool. Unless the information is enchrypted, this is trivial to do, once data is moved to another platform, which is also trivial to do. Not to be disagreeable, but I seriously doubt they had piracy in mind when they decided on the interface.

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