Tuesday, 1 March 2011

Sports Illustrated to offer digital subscriptions through Android apps; still no deal with Apple

Rejoice, sports fans: One of your favorite magazines has gone digital - truly digital.

Earlier Friday, Time Inc.'s Sports Illustrated introduced an "All Access" subscription plan, which for $4.99 a month gives readers access to the magazine across four platforms: print, the Web, smartphones and Android tablets. A digital-only plan is available for $3.99 per month.

Subscriptions are available at si.com and the Andriod marketplace. The title will also be made available on the HP Touchpad when it is introduced later this year.

Not yet on the Sports Illustrated "Access" team is Apple, maker of the iPad and iPhone, though users of those devices can buy the magazine each week on iTunes for $4.99.

iPhone users make up 28% of the mobile market, compared to Android's 18%, according to a recent Nielsen report. Meanwhile, Bloomberg News reports, the iPad accounted for 75% of all tablet sales last quarter. Mark Ford, president of Time Inc.'s sports group, said it’s "premature" to comment on the state of negotiations between the publisher and Apple.

Sports Illustrated Group Editor Terry McDonell stressed the company's mission to provide a quality product to sports fans.

"Content really should not get lost in our conversations,” McDonell said. “We want to win in terms of our engineering, we want to be as flashy and hip as we can possibly be, but ultimately it comes back to the storytelling."

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