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Maybe I just don’t understand new media

Feb 11, 2011, 11:44 AM EDT

iPad

UPDATE:  Rovell was wrong.  It’s ten bucks on top of the print edition to get the digital edition too, not ten dollars more for the digital edition only.  I don’t see an option for digital-only, however. Is that available? Anyone? Bueller?

Sports Illustrated is apparently coming out with a digital subscription for smart phones and tablet devices.

OK, that’s cool.  If there’s anyone who can sell an online magazine package it’s gotta be SI. They’re a coherent set of goods for the most part. The “illustrated” part works for multimedia platforms.  I can see it.  But this news from CNBC’s Darren Rovell is weird:

Surprised that SI’s new yearly digital subscription is $10 MORE ($48) than what it costs to get the magazine in print.

I understand sports content more than I understand the business behind it, so if someone can explain that to me, I’d appreciate it.

In other news the iPhone and iPad apps for PFT, HBT and the rest of the NBC Sports blogs continue to be free.  Android coming soon.  Not as many swimsuit models, however, so do the math as you see fit.

  1. Drew Silva - Feb 11, 2011 at 11:54 AM

    I’ll pose if you want, but all this typing in my parents’ basement has done a number on my figure.

    MOAR CHEEESE DOODLES, MAAA!

  2. yankeesfanlen - Feb 11, 2011 at 12:05 PM

    Is the digital version archived all the way back for 20 years or so? If not what’s the deal except gimmick value?

  3. Mr. Jason "El Bravo" Heyward - Feb 11, 2011 at 12:07 PM

    This digi-subscription is as superfluous as the iPad itself.

    • jkcalhoun - Feb 11, 2011 at 12:14 PM

      Enjoying your comments. Keep ‘em coming.

      Sent from my iPad

      • Mr. Jason "El Bravo" Heyward - Feb 11, 2011 at 1:22 PM

        Will do. Is the iPad you posted from?

      • jkcalhoun - Feb 11, 2011 at 1:58 PM

        Heh heh…she said “pad.”

  4. jkcalhoun - Feb 11, 2011 at 12:13 PM

    They price it that way because they can’t break away from the notion that new technology, even new applications of technology, should always be priced high initially. You can get anything you ask for from the early adopters, so the story goes, because they’ll pay whatever it takes to stay on the cutting edge.

    Well, good luck with that. If there’s really a business there, it’s also open to new publishers who are willing to place a serious bet on a new distribution model and who are less encumbered by assumptions about how these things ought to work.

    • mrhojorisin - Feb 11, 2011 at 12:55 PM

      jkcalhoun – You’re right, but also, an company like S.I. still has an “Old Media” infrastructure to support… a new start-up could charge less easily because it theoretically wouldn’t be so encumbered, but then again, is it going to have the content you want? Part of S.I.’s infrastructure is that stable of established writers.

      But no, S.I. is NOT reading the room right if they think people want to spend more or even the same for content delivered digitally. Beyond whatever early adapters opt in, they’re gonna be in trouble.

      • mrhojorisin - Feb 11, 2011 at 12:59 PM

        Sorry, here it is again without the errors:

        jkcalhoun – You’re right, but also, a company like S.I. still has an “Old Media” infrastructure to support… a new start-up could easily charge less because it theoretically wouldn’t be so encumbered, but then again, is it going to have the content you want? Part of S.I.’s infrastructure is that stable of established writers.

        But no, S.I. is NOT reading the room right if they think people want to spend more or even the same for content delivered digitally. Beyond whatever early adopters opt in, they’re gonna be in trouble.

      • jkcalhoun - Feb 11, 2011 at 1:04 PM

        Yes, S.I. has established writers and a grand history. I think it was quite a coup when they landed Posnanski, by the way, a great writer overdue for a wider audience and a total believer in the Sports Illustrated brand to boot.

        But writers move all the time, and have been on the move even more than usual with the recent upheavals in print publishing. If you wanted to make a splash and had some backing, I think you could round up a nice staff to start with.

        I think it’s a matter of understanding the readership. Would I buy a subscription for some in-depth articles on baseball 12 times a year that struck a nice balance between the new statistical orthodoxy and the old “up close and personal” approach? Yes, yes I would. Just don’t flash any damned ads in my face while I’m trying to read.

  5. dymerrell - Feb 11, 2011 at 12:53 PM

    What’s also strange is the lack of iOS support.

    • jkcalhoun - Feb 11, 2011 at 1:07 PM

      This article says they’re in negotiations with Apple for publishing on iOS as well.

  6. dymerrell - Feb 11, 2011 at 1:03 PM

    It looks like the report of the price is incorrect:

    https://subscription.si.com/storefront/subscribe-to-sports-illustrated/site/si-everywhere-web201102.html?link=1002345

    It’s just an extra $10 to get both digital and print.

  7. sdelmonte - Feb 11, 2011 at 1:16 PM

    I read the bulk of SI for free online. Or could, since there are some columnists I refuse to read. So are they going to start making more things subscription only?

    Gotta say, JoPo is worth paying for. So is Peter King, even if he covers that sport with the oval ball. And Zack Lowe’s basketball blog is almost that good. The rest is on a par with most other sports websites of note, though.

  8. Reflex - Feb 11, 2011 at 1:45 PM

    Get this blog an app on Windows Phone 7 please. That will be my next phone, and you guys are part of MSNBC, so the lack of an app for a MS platform is annoying…

  9. ferrousfan - Feb 11, 2011 at 7:55 PM

    I appreciate all you guys do. Can you help the Ipad crowd out and use a video feed that is compatible?

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