Publications Experiment With Bundling

Charging a premium for digital and throwing in print for little or nothing

So much for giving it away for free online.

Increasingly, publishers are charging premium prices for digital content and throwing in the print product at little or no additional cost, reports The Wall Street Journal. Publishers are betting on bundling: hoping that media consumers are willing to pay for content on devices such as Apple's iPad and receive the print product as a bonus.

Examples abound:

*     Last week, The New Yorker introduced a subscription that includes the magazine online and on the iPad for about $60 a year. For just $1 more a month, subscribers can get the magazine in print too.

*     An "All Access" subscription to Sports Illustrated includes the magazine online, on Android smartphones, on Android tablets, and in print for $48 a year. (Time Inc., meanwhile, no longer sells print-only subscriptions through the Sports Illustrated website.)

*     The iPad edition of Condé Nast's Glamour in Apple's App Store is the same price—$20 a year—as the price of the iPad edition plus print. Previously a print subscription to Glamour could be had for $10 a year.

"This is one of those moments of technology advancement that I think can help us get that appropriate value equation out there," Monica Ray, executive vice president of consumer marketing at Condé, told the Journal. "And that's the plan."