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Time Inc. Reaches Deal with Apple, Lets Print Subscribers Download Issues for Free

Amidst all the debates surrounding the implementation of subscriptions for App Store apps (which are based on iTunes payments, and require publishers to give a 30% cut off every transaction to Apple), Apple is still in talks with major publishers to reach a deal before the rumored June 30th deadline, when developers of existing “publishing apps” will be forced to flip the switch on native subscriptions if they want to keeps their magazines and digital newspapers in the Store. We’ve seen Apple is trying to push their effort of building better subscriptions for everyone among the general public, but so far the sheer volume of publishers jumping on board hasn’t played in favor of Apple: a very few of them have agreed to Apple’s terms, but those who did are seemingly happy with their decisions. And according to a new report by the Wall Street Journal, a new deal between Time Inc. (publisher of iPad magazine apps like Fortune, Sports Illustrated, and Time) should move adoption of subscriptions forward as Apple now allows to give away single-magazine issues away for free to existing print subscribers, directly from the iPad app.

Time Inc., the country’s largest magazine publisher, has reached a deal with Apple Inc. to make all its iPad editions free for print subscribers, marking a break in the impasse between publishers and Apple and lending support to Time’s contention that it’s business-as-usual after the ouster of its chief executive.

Starting Monday, subscribers to Sports Illustrated, Time and Fortune magazines will be able to access the iPad editions via the apps, which will be able to authenticate them as subscribers. Time Inc.’s People magazine already had such an arrangement, but readers of most publications have had to pay separately for the iPad version regardless of their subscriber status.

The WSJ also reports Time’s general counsel Edelson has been meeting with Apple’s VP of Internet Services Eddy Cue recently to reach a deal for print subscriber access and subscriptions, and in spite of the lack of subscriptions in Time Inc.’s magazines, sources say negotiations are moving forward as the June deadline approaches. Publishers are still asking Apple to revise its policy on opt-in sharing of personal information (a vital aspect for publishers’ targeted advertising), but as more magazines and newspapers will become available in the next weeks, the quick adoption of subscriptions is looking good for Jobs and Cue.

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