I would think that publishers would avoid disenfranchising their readers. Wired has at least discouraged me from adopting the iPad as a reading platform because Condé Nast obviously is more interested in new revenue streams than renewing readers. I think that is a poor strategy. To charge extra, any extra, for content that I already own (that is ephemeral by nature) makes no sense. If I am a subscriber to Wired, I should be able to read Wired on the iPad by proving that I am a subscriber. The Economist does that online, and their rates are much higher than Wired’s (and their content much less ephemeral).
I think People has it right. Yeah, I read People too. People not only provides the magazine to subscribers on the iPad for free, they enhance the experience. They make me want to remain a subscriber. And that is what the content strategy for a publisher should be—not how to milk more dollars out of a small pie (I’m the pie here) but to keep the level of investment consistent, in other words, don’t do anything that would jeopardize me as a subscriber.
When my renewal to Wired comes around, I’ll think twice about my relationship with Condé Nast. Sometimes the business model and the relationship are just as important as the perceived value of the product. Condé Nast is coming up short in my book (or should I say, my magazine).