Time Inc., Apple sign deal for free iPad editions for print subscribers

Many subscribers to Time Inc. print publications will surely be pleased with the news that they will be able to download iPad editions for free.

Many subscribers to Time Inc. print publications will surely be pleased with the news that they will be able to download iPad editions for free.

According to The Wall Street Journal, Time Inc. reached a deal with Apple, "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."

The deal's outcomes are noticeable starting today as digital iPad copies of Sports Illustrated, Time and Fortune magazines will be free to print subscribers first. (FYI, this option was already available for the also Time-owned People magazine.)

This is certainly a welcome feature for magazine subscribers. Even though many readers are moving to the digital form altogether, it's nice to have the option for both digital and print copies - especially for those who travel often and might not want to tote along a stack of heavy magazines.

Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes likens magazines subscriptions to online video streaming:

Mr. Bewkes and other executives have argued the scattering of audiences to digital platforms has put magazines on equal footing with TV networks and movie studios. Time Warner views the "TV everywhere" approach, giving paying subscribers access to content across platforms, as the model for magazines, too.

Unfortunately, not everyone has picked up on this idea yet. Many publishers still charge separate for subscriptions for print and digital forms, which seems rather backwards-minded at this point. Hopefully after this turn of events, they'll reconsider.