SBD/February 11, 2011/Media

Time Inc. Introduces Subscription-Based SI App In Time For Swimsuit Issue

SI's Swimsuit Issue app will sell for $6.99

Time Inc. Friday announced a partnership with Google to create a digital subscription offering for Sports Illustrated on some Android-based devices, including tablets. Digital subscriptions for tablet devices have been elusive or difficult to scale for many magazine publishers, and SI in particular to date has not been able to come to terms with Apple to sell its iPad application on a subscription basis through iTunes (Eric Fisher, SportsBusiness Journal). In N.Y., Keith Kelly notes currently “only single issues” of SI can be purchased through apps. The move marks “one of the first times a major consumer magazine is selling long-term subscriptions via an app.” It is expected to “tie in with the publicity surrounding next week's SI swimsuit issue, traditionally the title's biggest-selling issue of the year and one that attracts an enormous amount of digital traffic.” An SI spokesperson said that the swimsuit app on iPhones and Android phones will “sell for $6.99.” SI will begin making the subscription app "available to smartphones using the Google Android system" Friday afternoon. The move comes “only two days after Time Inc. unveiled plans to partner” with HP on digital subscriptions “when it introduces its TouchPad tablet this summer.” The HP partnership “will make subscriptions available for SI as well as Time, Fortune, and People” (N.Y. POST, 2/11).

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