Time Inc., the last major publisher missing from the Apple Newsstand, has finally given into the tech giant. Today, the No. 1 U.S. publisher announced that monthly and annual digital subscriptions—as well as single-copy sales—for all 20 of its consumer titles are now available through the Newsstand in U.S. and select international markets.
While Time Inc. was one of the first publishers to make its magazines available on the iPad, until now, readers had to download a separate app for each title to access its digital edition.
A spokesperson for Time Inc. said that, for the most part, digital subscription prices remain comparable to print. For example, a print subscription to Time magazine is $30 a year, while the Apple Newsstand equivalent is $29.99. As before, print subscribers are given free access to digital editions.
Time Inc. is making peace with Apple at a time when it could use the revenue. In its first quarter, publishing revenue declined 3 percent to $773 million, reflecting declines of 5 percent in advertising revenues and 2 percent in subscription revenues. Adjusted operating income fell 38 percent to $39 million primarily on lower magazine ad revenue. Of particular concern is the company’s cash cow, People, whose newsstand sales fell 12.4 percent in the second half of 2011. While Time Inc. has made its titles available on other devices, having a presence on Apple's iPad, the dominant player, is critical to making significant strides in expanding its digital audience.
Time's news today is the first major move under new CEO Laura Lang and represents a shift in the company's approach under her predecessor Jack Griffin, who was adamant that publishers be able to collect information on subscribers, which Apple has declined to share.
On the homepage of the Apple Newsstand store, the covers of People and Time are currently being featured in a revolving “New Magazines Added” section. However, none of the Time Inc. titles appear to have made it onto the “new and noteworthy” list yet.