Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes is the latest high profile personality from the news publication sector (after Robert Mudroch) to get hooked on to the tablet devices in general and the iPad in particular. He wants to pull off what Robert Mudroch’s News Corporation has been able to achieve and make some serious cash in the process.
However, Bewkes is pinning his hopes on a business model that’s separate from what News Corps is following as he does not want to keep subscriptions to the online version of its print magazines separate from that of its print versions. On the contrary, he is harping on a business model where the online versions of the company’s magazines like ‘Time, People, Sports Illustrated, Real Simple’ will be made available to all those who have already subscribed to the print versions. The idea behind the move is to let everyone have a taste of Time Warner’s publication on these new age tablet devices from just about anywhere where there is internet.
This would be a complete departure from what is offered at the present, seeing as all the print publications available on the iPad are subscription only, which is independent of whether or not you have subscribed to the print versions. The billing is also separate for the subscriptions to their print editions.
However, it would be interesting to note that the ‘Sports Illustrated app’ was barred from including a subscription feature for the iPad by Apple in a move that has not been explained as yet by the Cupertino, California based company. Rumors suggest that allowing the ‘Sports Illustrated app’ to include a subscription would have entailed the publishers being in possession of subscriber information, something that Apple is reluctant to do. Also, such a move would have led to a scenario where subscribers would end up downloading apps directly from the publishers instead of from the Apple App Store, a situation where Apple won’t have control over magazine sales and hence profit might take a hit.
In any case, Bewkes efforts to combine tablet PC content to print subscriptions is surely a novel idea though it remains to be seen if things work out the way he has envisioned. Keep watching as we track developments on this.