Time Inc., Apple reach deal on iPad subscriptions

The agreement will make all of the publisher's iPad editions available to print edition subscribers at no additional charge.

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Apple has reportedly reached a deal with magazine publisher Time to provide free iPad content access to print subscribers.
Apple has reportedly reached a deal with magazine publisher Time to provide free iPad content access to print subscribers. Business Wire

Magazine publisher Time Inc. has reached a deal with Apple to make all of its iPad editions available for free to print subscribers, signaling a possible resolution to an impasse between Apple and publishers.

Beginning tomorrow subscribers to Sports Illustrated, Time, and Fortune magazines will be able to access iPad content via apps that will authenticate them as subscribers, a Time Inc. spokesman told CNET, confirming a story first reported by The Wall Street Journal. Previously, subscribers to most of the print editions had to pay an extra fee to access iPad content.

Representatives for Apple did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Several European newspaper and magazine publishers were reportedly contacted by Apple and informed earlier this year that they could not offer free subscriptions for iPad editions through a newspaper and magazine subscription service at Apple's App Store that launched in February. Essentially, subscribers would have to go through Apple to sign up for any iPad-edition publications.

The processing of payments is handled by Apple within the applications via in-app purchase, wherein Apple collects 30 percent of the revenue. In addition to that 30 percent take, publishers were dissatisfied with the amount of control Apple would exercise over subscriptions and user data.

Publishers have reportedly been wrangling with Apple over who would control subscription sales and particularly subscriber data, considered a treasure trove of information and a key aspect of audience targeting and advertising deals. The Financial Times said last year that its own discussions with Apple regarding digital subscriptions nearly fell apart over the issue of who owns the subscriber records--Apple or the publication.

Updated at 9 p.m. with confirmation by a Time Inc. representative.