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Consumer Reports, which named the iPad the top tablet earlier this year, is now adding subscriptions and free access for print subscribers t…

Consumer Reports January2012
photo: Consumer Reports

Consumer Reports, which named the iPad the top tablet earlier this year, is now adding subscriptions and free access for print subscribers to its iPad app. As part of its ongoing strategy to reach younger readers, it is also releasing seven new smartphone apps, including one that scans barcodes for instant access to CR ratings and reviews.

The CR iPad subscriptions launch with the January 2012 issue, which goes on sale December 6. Also starting with the January 2012 issue, print subscribers (who pay $29 per year) will have access to the iPad edition for free. Single issues are available through iTunes for $4.99, monthly iPad subscriptions are $2.99 and annual iPad subscriptions are $24.99.

The iPad edition is not included with online subscriptions, however: Subscribers to ConsumerReports.org, who pay $26 per year, can add the iPad edition for an additional $12 per year. (Somewhat confusingly, print subscribers don’t get free access to ConsumerReports.org, but can add it for $19 per year.)

Previously, iPad subscriptions were not available (single issues of the magazine on the iPad were $3.99) and print subscribers did not get free iPad access–something that made many of them quite unhappy, judging by the iTunes comments. (“As of now I rate CR a poor buy and do not recommend,” wrote one user.)

Chris Moody, CR director and general manager of print products, told Folio that the company intended all along to offer iPad/print bundles and iPad subscriptions, but didn’t have the resources to do so at the outset.

Consumer Reports is also releasing seven new iOS and Android smartphone apps (in addition to the free apps it’s already released), ranging in price from $0.99 to $4.99 per year. Consumer Reports Mobile Shopper, for $4.99, lets users scan barcodes to see Consumer Reports ratings and reviews. The other apps focus on appliances, babies’ and kids’ products, eco-friendly ingredients, TVs, washers and dryers, and hospital ratings.

A digital edition of Consumer Reports is also available for Kindle Fire, Nook and Nook Color, and Zinio, at $2 per month. Those editions are not free for print subscribers and are not optimized for Android tablets with larger screens, but Moody said the company is working on it.

Time Inc. and Condé Nast offer all-access subscriptions, bundling print and digital access, for some of their titles, while Hearst still charges print subscribers separately for digital access.

  1. The question is, if I’m already an online subscriber (which I am and have been for years), will I have to pay extra for this?  If so, this is a dud and CR can still not be rated as a buy.
     
    Why can’t they and other media plays just look at the WSJ (who got it very wrong at first, but now has a “pay once, get everywhere” model).

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    1. Laura Hazard Owen Thursday, December 1, 2011

      Just updated the article with that info–Yes: If you subscribe to the online edition (consumerreports.org), you pay an additional $12 per year for the iPad edition.

      I find it odd, also, that print subscribers don’t have automatic access to the website, but can pay an additional $19 per year for it.

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  2. Add Sirius to the list of ‘not getting it’.

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  3. Thanks for the update.  The $12 (for existing online subscribers) is definitely better than full price ($25), but I’m not sure it is sustainable (or desirable).  I just bought a Kindle Fire (and love it) are they going to charge me again for that?  What about when Win8 Metro launches next year?

    IMHO, increase the online subscription cost as necessary (through browser purchase) to cover app dev & maintenance and then release apps free to all major devices.  Get out of the app selling business.

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  4. As
    an Audience Development Director of 8 local publications, I’m torn with the
    thought should subscribers get the digital editions as a part of their print subscription.
    In music and movies when you purchase a CD it does not come with a free
    download from iTunes same with movies, although you can purchase deluxe sets
    for a premium price and get the digital versions. On the other hand, if I’m
    already a subscriber to print, it only makes sense that I should get the
    digital for free. The other problem is that with Apple, Amazon you are not MY
    customer your are THEIR customer. So if you have an iPad and get a Kindle Fire
    for Christmas, and want to receive it in both formats, in most cases I don’t
    get any of you information for Apple or Amazon to help.

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