Morning Brief: Playboy avoids Apple’s App Review team and puts its back issues up online behind paywall; NYT CEO Robinson says Globe is not for sale, but …
Taking a lesson from Apple, Playboy has launched a new website that will host all 57 years of the magazine’s back issues called iPlayboy.
The website prominently promotes reading Playboy on the iPad, but the company did not launch an iPad app, but rather went with a browser based solution instead. The move avoids a potential fight with Apple’s rather granny-like attitude towards sex, satire and anything else that smells adult behavior.
But the move also means that there will be no in-app purchases, instead readers sign up at the website. But here is the catch, and it is a big one: Playboy doesn’t own the URL iPlayboy.com. Instead, readers are directed to i.Playboy.com where they sign up for a very expensive membership starting at $8 per month. Playboy also offers a one year subscription at $60 per year, or $100 for two years.
What this gets readers is every issue ever published. Interestingly, the real enticement here is not access to current issues, but access to the older issues – a tacit admission that it is the back issues with their author and celebrity interviews that are the real attraction to the brand – and that list of quality authors is long, indeed: Saul Bellow, John LeCarre, Kurt Vonnegut, Mel Brooks, Woody Allen, Vladimir Nabokov, Joyce Carol Oates, and on and on.
According to Wikipedia, the magazine hit its peak with the November 1972 edition which sold 7,161,561 copies. Last year’s ABC audit showed that the magazine’s circulation now stands at just over 1.6 million.
In a not so definitive statement New York Times Company CEO Janet Robinson told a group of Boston Globe reporters in a meeting that their paper was not for sale, but that because the company is publicly traded it would be forced to entertain any offers made for the Globe.
“One of the things we say often, and it can’t be said enough in this community: The New York Times is very proud of The Boston Globe,” Robinson said. “We’re very proud of the progress we’ve made. We’re very proud of its commitment to quality journalism.” (Boy, that sounds condescending, like she’s talking to a little boy who brought home a B on their report card.)
Separately, Robinson reported at a J.P. Morgan conference yesterday that more than 100,000 readers had signed up for access to the Times website and mobile access since the paper went behind a metered paywall in March.
“If you break it out, not only have we surpassed the 100,000 mark as we noted in regard to the April call, we also have an MEU — Most Engaged User program — that we sold to Lincoln that is being paid for by Lincoln until the end of the year,” the AP reported Robinson telling investors.
Robinson also said that 728,000 of the NYT’s print subscribers had registered online for free access, taking advantage of the NYT’s offer of free digital access for print subscribers.
The publisher of The Kansas City Star, Mark Zieman, has been promoted to Vice President, Operations at McClatchy. The promotion will mean a move to Sacramento.
Zieman will be replacing Frank Whittaker who is retiring on May 27. Zieman will be split operations responsibility with Bon Well: Zieman handling 13 daily newspapers in seven states, while Well handles 14 daily newspapers. Pat Talamantes, vice president, finance and chief financial officer, has added the company’s Florida operations which include The Miami Herald to his list of duties.