March 11, 2009

Paying for People & Time Online

Would you pay to read select sections of People and Time magazine online? It may be a future decision, as Time Inc. mulls over the idea of web subscriptions.

From the article: "I think it is time for Time Inc. to sit down and seriously think, what is the model," (Time, Inc. CEO Ann) Moore told England's Telegraph newspaper. "We are going to have to figure out a way to have paid content in the future."

I have already lamented the reasons why the death of the magazine is so tragic. I have switched to a gratitude attitude every time my remaining subscriptions land in the mailbox, and I flip the pages to the sound of a clock ticking down.

So, the thought from Time, Inc. makes complete sense, financially. Emotionally, it's preparing for another divorce, much like the one I recently had with the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

I let the daily paper subscription run out since the content has been altered mostly unreadable by the severe staff cuts to try and keep it afloat. Their corresponding website is - by popular consensus - an absolute nightmare to access and navigate. Until they can spare the time and money to redesign and reconfigure their website (think in terms of replicating the print form, please), I am divorced from our local newspaper, and now seeing the online-only St. Louis Beacon through RSS feed and the St. Louis American every Thursday.

And this highlights the dilemma of the dividing line: for every print relationship I have to let go of, there's a cyber one waiting to take its place, and it never asks me for a financial commitment. But what if it did? What would I do?

Time, Inc. has the power and the resources to force this decision.

Free milk vs. buying the cow, and I'm getting a bit uncomfortable about restrictions on playing the field.