Time Inc. CEO Laura Lang: Why We Changed Our Minds About the iPad

Need to Sell iPad Subscriptions 'Was Obvious for Me,' New CEO Says

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Time Inc. on Thursday ended its long refusal to sell iPad subscriptions in the App Store, deciding that earlier concerns over Apple's power and policies weren't worth the missed opportunity. In a Q&A with Ad Age , new Time Inc. CEO Laura Lang explained that the reversal wasn't actually an about-face for her personally.

Here's our interview, lightly edited.

Laura Lang
Laura Lang

Advertising Age: Why make this change now?

Laura Lang: This has been a priority for me. When I joined Time Inc., one of the things that was important to me was ensuring that our content is where consumers want to read it. The Apple newsstand is an important place where a lot of consumers are. And Apple is really becoming a good partner to publishers. We are confident we can deliver a experience for our readers that 's really good.

Ad Age : Are the concerns that had kept Time Inc. from selling iPad subscriptions -- such as Apple's control over pricing and the relationship with subscribers -- still concerns? Or did you achieve a comfort level with the ecosystem Apple has been offering?

Ms. Lang: It's hard for me to comment what the concerns were before I arrived. What I can say is that right now I'm very comfortable that we have a partnership with Apple that will give our readers a good experience and give Time Inc. as a publisher the opportunity to provide those experiences. So, yes, I'm comfortable.

Ad Age : Did this decision follow some study, consultation or re-examination? Were the Bain consultants that have been at Time Inc. involved at all? Or was it just clear to you from the outset?

Ms. Lang: The one thing I'm not going to talk about is Bain. But it was really clear to me. All you have to do is look at where people are reading, where consumers are and the fact that the tablet platform offers an opportunity to bring in new readers. So it was obvious for me. And in conversations with Apple it was clear that they would be a good partner.

Ad Age : If tablet readers continue to grow as quickly as they are, do you see publishers expanding their overall reach across print and tablets, or using it as a chance to manage the expensive print component down?

Ms. Lang: It's hard for me to predict definitely what will happen. But one of the things we do focus on is making sure that we are bringing an engaged audience to our advertisers. As we better understand the engagement that our readers have on the tablet, that 's going to be an important place for our advertisers to be. We're going to be working as all the data comes in to make sure we're bringing that to advertisers in a way that makes sense.

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