TIME Intros iPad at $4.99 a Week

| Product News

TIME introduced its TIME app for the iPad on Friday. The publisher plans to include multimedia content in the electronic version of its magazine, but instead of offering in-app purchasing for weekly editions, users will have to repurchase the app each week.

TIME for the iPad will include all of the content from the weekly print edition of the magazine, along with photo slideshows, videos, live news feeds, and content from the publisher’s international editions of the magazine.

The iPad version of the TIME app isn’t available yet in the App Store, although the publisher plans to make it available in time for Saturday’s iPad launch. The free TIME Mobile app for the iPhone, however, is currently available.

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16 Comments Leave Your Own

Substance

$4.99 sounds in line with the newsstand price, but I’m surprised they don’t even mention the eventual possibility of a subscription price.

I’ve got to believe that if newspaper and magazine content take off on the iPad (and chalk me down as one who thinks that it will, starting off with a small but dedicated base of users but it will generate a lot of media interest), current subscribers are going to feel left out.

I’m willing to pay a slightly higher rate for the digital subscription.  But I sure wouldn’t pay $5 every week for Time or any magazine or newspaper.  $260 a year for just one source of content just won’t fit my budget or the budgets of most people.  I could see the Wall Street Journal doing that, but not Time.

MyRightEye

Good luck with that…

Lee Dronick

I currently have a paid subscription for Time magazine, the print version. It was quite inexpensive, if i remember correctly it was $12 a year. However, I am considering letting it lapse because it while it has some good content it is little more than a pamphlet. Would this iPad version have enough content for $4.99 a week? That price seems more to be a sweet spot for a monthly subscription than each week. Maybe I will try one app and see how it goes, but my opening position is no.

Bosco (Brad Hutchings)

@Sir Harry… It would be entertaining to see an ongoing log of all the money you spend being a content consumer on your iPad. $5/week here, $18/month there… None of it linkable and sharable. All of it stuck on your iPad. Apple will truly save the publishing industry if all iPad owners consume what they are expected to consume.

Cory Doctorow hits it out of the park this morning. Absolute must read.

(And for real TMO? You blacklisted the unshortened URL to that story! Wow. Just wow.)

Lee Dronick

@Sir Harry? It would be entertaining to see an ongoing log of all the money you spend being a content consumer on your iPad. $5/week here, $18/month there

I would assume that Apple is already analyzing such data from our iTunes Store purchases.

Will I buy an iPad subscription to weekly editions Time, Newsweek, or whatever? No I will find one news magazine that appeals to me in content and look and feel. I may get a MacWorld and a MacAddict app because I like them both. Perhaps a cooking magazine and an arts magazine. But yeah, I will have to set a budget as I do for other luxuries I like.

MyRightEye

MacWorld and MacAddict still exist?
Hu. Who would have known.

dhp

Current price for the print edition of Time on Amazon.com is $20/year, which is $.36 per issue. That’s less than a first-class stamp. I think $4.99 for the electronic version might be passable as a per-issue price, but if there isn’t a significant discount for a subscription, that’s outrageous.

Lee Dronick

MacWorld and MacAddict still exist?
Hu. Who would have known.

There are several other Mac magazines out there and every once in a while I buy one at a newsstand, but there is only so much time and so much in my budget. Anyway, as magazines MacWorld and MacAddict are not too bad and I would think that any iPad versions would be even better because of the multimedia features

I used to get Layers, the Adobe centric magazine, but over the last year or it has gone to hell in a flashbasket. However, it too could be improved with multimedia features and as such be worth the money.

Current price for the print edition of Time on Amazon.com is $20/year, which is $.36 per issue. That?s less than a first-class stamp. I think $4.99 for the electronic version might be passable as a per-issue price, but if there isn?t a significant discount for a subscription, that?s outrageous.

Yes if there was yearly, or even quarterly, subscription then I may buy the app.

In the publishing field it is going to be an interesting next few months.

gplawhorn

If we don’t like the price, we won’t buy it. Time will a) drop the price to get the digital versions out, or b) drop that sort of digital publishing.

The KIndle version of Time is $2.99 per month; much less expensive. Will the content on the iPad exceed the content on the Kindle that much? I dunno. I’ll probably buy one to check it out, but it won’t be a regular purchase.

MyRightEye

The iPhone has proven over and over again, that lower prices dramatically increase sales and overall profits. At $5 a week, they are not going to do well at all. And a new app for each week? Sorry I don’t want more than ONE app on my screen. Not hundreds. How freaking stupid is that!

iBagwan

$4.99? Someone is being greedy. With no cost for printing, packaging, distribution, loss and charging more then print media costs? The smarter thing would have been to go in lower and build your loyal base and work your way up. It’s really too bad because someone is going to go in a little lower and establish themselves as the front runner.

Bosco (Brad Hutchings)

$4.99? Someone is being greedy. With no cost for printing, packaging, distribution, loss and charging more then print media costs?

You so misunderstand the hype behind the iPad. Many of the big media players are playing it up because they see it as an opportunity to reassert their dwindling paid content models at high prices. Content consumers who pay $500+ for this content consumption device will be more than willing to pay $5, $10, $20, even $50 per week for paid content. The providers just have to take their slice.

This is why I am still confident about my bet with Bryan. Today, many potential content consumers (n?e Apple loyalists) will line up to get their content consumption devices—or they pre-ordered so as to avoid the stench of the likes of Greg “iPhone guy” Packer. For a month or so, the content providers will be patient as the new content consumers pick and choose which content they will gladly pay for and consume. But after a month, when it is clear that the iPad’s built in vacuum cleaner designed to suck money from content consumers to the established content providers doesn’t really suck, the content providers will turn on the iPad and tear it down as quickly as they built it up.

dhp

To be fair (and I’m the one who posted the subscription price above), the newsstand price of an issue of Time is $5, so on a per-issue basis this is the same price. Sure, there’s no print or shipping cost, but it does cost money to have these magazines made into iApps. It’s not like they go to the print dialog in the publishing software and choose “Print to iPad app.” Don’t forget Apple’s 30% take (I presume) and that there is supposed to be more content in the iPad version than print—multimedia and international articles.

Having said that, I still think if there is not some sort of subscription option at a discount, it’s an outrageous price.

Lee Dronick

It?s not like they go to the print dialog in the publishing software and choose ?Print to iPad app.?

Correct! There is a lot of cost in gathering news, writing the stories, hopefully fact checking, layout and all. It is kind of like the people who write articles about the true cost of the iPad when all they did was add up the cost of components.

I suppose that they could take the layout for the physical magazine and just print to PDF, but then it wouldn’t have multimedia and all that we should be getting in an e-zine.

Substance

This is why I am still confident about my bet with Bryan. ...For a month or so, the content providers will be patient as the new content consumers pick and choose which content they will gladly pay for and consume. But after a month, when it is clear that the iPad?s built in vacuum cleaner designed to suck money from content consumers to the established content providers doesn?t really suck, the content providers will turn on the iPad and tear it down as quickly as they built it up.

I’ll take that bet too.

I fully expect the pricing model for the initial content producers for the iPad to change with time - this is brand new market after all and if people aren’t paying for (using TIME’s example) their outrageous amount, they will have to lower their cost.  Supply and demand at work.

Many of the legacy (newspaper and magazines) content producers don’t have any more options if they still want to be in business in 5 years. 

Apple isn’t pushing them off the plank so much as giving them a ladder to safety.  Sure any of these places could do it themselves, but none have done so successfully yet, have they?  And there’s nothing saying that as this new market evolves rapidly in the next few months that some content producers do go their own way or a rival content distributor - say Amazon and Google - show up, learning quickly from the lessons acquired by the iBooks marketplace.

Substance

Cory Doctorow hits it out of the park this morning. Absolute must read.

I disagree, Cory sounds a lot like you and you both strikeout.

The analogy between CD-ROMs and what Apple is attempting through the iBooks store is a poor one.  Early CD-ROMs were rarely more than lavish multimedia presentations of material one could glean from an encyclopedia.  There was no existing market, or even pent-up demand, for the content that was being pushed out at the time. 

The Apple iBooks store is relying on “incumbent” content providers, brands that people already depend on and pay for to get content from. 

Also, Apple is hardly an “incumbent” in the market of distributing printed content in the same way newspapers, magazines and book publishers are.  A few have tried to have offer a pay-for-content model and failed miserably.  Apple has already succeeded as a distributor of music, something the incumbents in that industry - the RIAA - failed at.  And they have a strong distribution method in place for video, one that has met with a lukewarm response form the incumbents in that industry.

And let’s not forget the cell phone industry, where the incumbents spent years giving us phones with crappy interfaces and draconian rules (far, far worse than anything Apple has done) on how users could access the device.  Apple’s first shot at a cell phone revolutionized the playing field.

As for the argument that the iPad and iPhone environments are too closed, as I and many people much smarter than me have pointed out many times, this is the steppingstone to creating an appliance computer.  Nobody tinkers with their appliances at home.  You buy a refrigerator, you plug it in and expect it to work.  Why can’t there be a computer out there that acts the same way?  It’s not a possibility, it’s an inevitability.

Just because you and I like to tinker with computers, customize the heck out of it and maybe even write some software, ultimately this is a good hobbyist activity.  But the hobbyist market is just a very small slice of the pie.  Just because Apple is going after that larger slice, a slice that will appeal to far more people than the hobby crowd ever could and make them tons of cash, doesn’t make their actions wrong. 

In fact, one of the big reasons I switched to the Mac from PCs over a decade ago was that I got tired of all the maintenance that PCs required at the time.  Even though I had built a couple of my own PCs, I got more interested in content creation instead of fighting IRQ conflicts and reinstalling Windows every 6 to 12 months.

And the last 3 paragraphs, “If you want to live in the creative universe where anyone with a cool idea can make it and give it to you to run on your hardware, the iPad isn’t for you…(x 3)” are just pompous and petty.  If it wasn’t for the iApp environment that Apple created, tens of thousands of great developer ideas would have never made it into people’s hands.  Just because Apple has created a closed system to reimburse themselves for their R&D efforts and to protect the security of the system is a justifiable choise, not an egregious act of greed like you and Cory make it out to be.

If you don’t like it, don’t buy it.  But don’t act like what’s best for you is best for everyone.  How ironic is it that that is exactly what you decry Apple for doing to you.

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