Just an Online Minute... Why Limit Access?
AOL Time Warner-owned Time Inc. said yesterday that it would charge for the online editions of 14 of its magazines. The company will start charging for access to online version of People and Entertainment Weekly on Monday, with magazines such as Teen People, Real Simple and In Style scheduled to follow the same route in the coming weeks.
The move is tied, of course, to AOL's push of its broadband services (the official announcement outlining upcoming offerings of content from different divisions of AOL Time Warner such as video clips of movies from Warner Brothers to its broadband members, is scheduled to Monday).
The part I don't understand is why AOL decided to limit access to the online editions. Reportedly, the Internet editions of People and Entertainment Weekly will be out of bounds to readers except to America Online members, subscribers to the specific magazines, or people who buy the newsstand edition.
Just look at the numbers. AOL currently claims to have about 35 million members. According to Nielsen//NetRatings, the active Internet universe is more than 133 million. The number of people who have web access but don't necessarily go online is hovering at nearly 180 million. I don't see subscribers to the magazines and newsstand readers making up for the difference.
Why limit the possibilities?