Summary:

Not too long ago, grazing the magazine bins was a perk of going to a trade show. But consolidation and closures mean fewer publications — a…

Pub Bins at CES 2012
photo: Time Inc.

Not too long ago, grazing the magazine bins was a perk of going to a trade show. But consolidation and closures mean fewer publications — and digital platforms offer access to the info without lugging around the ones that are left. Time (NYSE: TWX) Inc.’s solution at CES this year?

A magazine-shaped promo piece stacked in the publication bins but with none of the publishers’ content inside. Instead, the company played up its tablet editions and their cross-device access by offering them all free of charge at CES for download to iPad, Kindle Fire, Nook Tablet/Nook Color and Android devices via NextIssue. (You can try it this weekend; the free trial ends Sunday night.)

A magazine-shaped promo piece stacked in the publication bins but with none of the publishers’ content inside. Instead, the company played up its tablet editions and their cross-device, all-in-one subscription access by offering them all free of charge at CES for download to iPad, Kindle Fire, Nook Tablet/Nook Color and Android devices via NextIssue. (You can try it this weekend; the free trial ends Sunday night.) The downloaded issues will be accessible on devices after the promo ends.

I wasn’t at CES but I heard about this when I was working on another story and it caught my attention. Instead of handling out cards for one free download or sticking with a single title or device, the company tried something that matches the best of its digital intentions: getting attention for its tablet strategy, while showing the device makers it can be a good partner and stressing an ecumenical approach at the same time.

A spokesperson says “thousands” of people have used the code but wouldn’t give it a range; the most popular title is the one that usually includes the most tech coverage, Time.

Time Inc. isn’t alone in trying to get this kind of attention for its mass of tablet mags. Conde Nast, for instance, has been highlighted on the Kindle Fire since launch with 90-day free trials of its titles in a promo play aimed at getting subscribers from new device owners. Time Inc. is also trying a more traditional promo play with a digital twist with its new Nook deal: subscribe to People on the Nook for a year at $9.99 a month and get a Nook Tablet free.

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