Report: Condé Nast Close to iPad Deal

Time Inc. lags in announcing subs sale deal

Condé Nast is poised to announce a deal to sell magazine subscriptions on Apple’s iPad, following news of a similar deal struck by Hearst, the New York Post is reporting.

The story suggests Condé would get a jump of several weeks on Hearst in selling subscriptions in the iTunes store, giving it bragging rights over its archrival, which has been on a roll lately, having nabbed Condé exec David Carey as its president and scooped up Hachette Filipacchi Media U.S.’s titles in a nearly $900 million deal. A Condé rep declined to comment for the story.

More meaningful numbers will come down the road, though, when the publishers actually start selling subscriptions. Whereas Hearst has more mass-market titles like Cosmopolitan and Good Housekeeping, Condé Nast’s magazines like The New Yorker and Wired could have more sales potential on the iPad, thanks to their owners’ upscale demographics. That's presumably why Condé reportedly is kicking off its iPad sales with The New Yorker. The New Yorker has been available to iPad owners to buy on a single-copy basis. But for a weekly, offering a subscription model is especially critical because consumers have demonstrated that they're unwilling to download and buy each issue of the magazine—at $5.99 a copy—in large numbers.

Talks between Apple and publishers over subscription sales have stretched out for months. The key sticking point is the question of who will control data on the customer, as publishers consider that information critical to cross-selling and renewing subscriptions. Apple has been reluctant to hand over that data.