Thursday, February 17, 2011

SI, Part II

On the heels of release of its annual swimsuit issue, Sports Illustrated has announced that it will no longer sell print-only subscriptions. In other words, if you want access to the magazine you're going to have to pay $48 for an "All Access" bundle that includes print, Web, and tablet and phone Android applications.

It sounds like yet another death blow for print in general, and more specifically for the magazine industry, but it's actually a logical evolution of media technologies. "You're really buying a subscription to the brand, not a magazine," said an SI spokesman of the move, which makes a lot of sense, especially considering there is only a small difference in cost.

Dr. Samir Husni of our faculty, also known as "Mr. Magazine," said the move is an extension of what the cable industry has been doing for years. "You buy basic cable as a bundle," he said, "and you get a certain amount of channels. We're going to see a lot more of what I call 'cable-ization' of the magazine industry." Husni said it's also a way for SI to remove some of the hassles related to figuring out its subscription numbers. Instead of trying to determine separate numbers for print, web and phone, this allows SI to have one subscription total.

It's a move that makes sense for a lot of reasons, and not necessarily another sign of print's impending demise.


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