Jun 02, 2011

Hearst, Apple Reach iPad Deal

Robert Kanes's picture
Robert Kanes
Senior Producer

As William Gibson and others have famously noted, "The future is here; it's just not widely distributed yet." Well, distribution has a special resonance for the publishing industry, and there still seems to be some amount of disagreement among its leading lights as to the shape it will take.

In early May, Hearst Corp. said it had agreed to sell subscriptions to the iPad editions of a range of its magazines through iTunes. "Starting with their July issues, iPad apps for Esquire, Popular Mechanics and O, The Oprah Magazine, will be available through a service from Apple that allows customers to sign up for subscriptions inside the apps and get billed automatically." Then Conde Nast followed up on their own New Yorker announcement, stating that in addition to the New Yorker, "seven other publications—Vanity Fair, Glamour, Golf Digest, Allure, Wired, Self and GQ—will offer digital iPad subscriptions by the end of May." Seemed like critical mass was finally happening. Now comes Jann Wenner of Rolling Stone, quoted in Digital Trends, about when might be a good time to fully embrace the iPad and its subscription platform: “Oh I think down the road. Who knows how far down the road… Decades, probably,” he says. “People’s habits will shift, they’ll make improvements in the delivery system, the screen will change, it will get lighter, whatever, and new people growing up will find that as a habit. But you’re talking about a generation at least, maybe two generations, before the shift is decisive.”

Ouch—somebody pass Jann the future before he takes another big hit off the past!

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