Time Inc. to Apple: Fine, Google Will Sell Our Tablet Subscriptions!

Sports Illustrated editor Terry McDonell: “It bums us out when we get reviewed as being a sh*tty application, simply because it costs too much”

Here’s the media quote of the day, courtesy of Sports Illustrated editor Terry McDonell (via All Things D):

“It bums us out when we get reviewed as being a sh–ty application, simply because it costs too much.”

He’s talking about customers who review the SI iPad application on iTunes. His point: people are annoyed at the $4.99 per issue download price, but Apple won’t allow magazine publishers to sell digital subscriptions through the iTunes App Store – at least, not yet. (So far, The Daily is the only publishing business iPad app that Apple has allowed to sell monthly subscriptions for.)

McDonell’s comment came during a press conference for SI’s new “All Access” initiative, the ability for subscribers to get Sports Illustrated in print, online, on mobile devices and tablets, including Google’s Android and Droid smartphone – all for one monthly price. (It’s similar in tone to Time Warner chief Jeffrey Bewkes “TV Everywhere” rap.)

More, via Peter Kafka:

Consumers download the magazine app from Google, but go to a Time Inc. Web site to enter their billing info and pick out a subscription option:

• Print/Digital (Samsung Galaxy/Android Smartphone/Web): $48 annually or $4.99/month
• Digital Only: $3.99/month
• Current print customers will get the digital version for free until the end of their subscription.

Google will keep an undisclosed percentage of the transaction, but that money isn’t crucial to Time Warner’s publishing unit. The data is.

Time Inc., the world’s biggest magazine publisher, is hoping to use SI’s “All Access” plan as a model for its other magazines, like Time and People.

“We’re confident that at some point we’ll be able to sell subscriptions appropriately in the iTunes store,” Time Inc.'s chief digital officer Randall Rothenberg told Forbes. “Those stores that lock us out — well, it just means the other stores are going to get more traffic, more buyers.”

Meanwhile, SI is gearing up for next week’s launch of its annual Swimsuit Issue with what McDonell called “a Swiss Army knife of applications: Twitter feeds; apps on the iPhone, iPad and Android; a special Flipboard stream; 3D video on Sony’s PlayStation video network; and our Swimsuit Selection Show tonight on DirecTV’s Channel 101, where we will unveil the entire model cast of the 2011 Swimsuit franchise.”