Sticking with the Netflix theme for today, here's a new service: Maghound, which purports to be the Netflix of magazine subscriptions. You pay a small fee and swap out subscriptions from month to month. Here's a piece on it from ReadWriteWeb. Evidently the choice in magazines at the moment is small but they had to start somewhere.
People are hesitant to pony up a year's worth of service for a magazine they aren't sure they'll read often enough or really enjoy. This service would be a good way to get people back into the magazine fray, but why wouldn't people use the service for a few months, find which magazines they like, then drop the service and subscribe only to what they like (and, presumably, pay less in doing so)? Netflix works so well because movies are one-and-done; you watch it and move on to something else. Magazines don't work that way. Substitution arguments could be framed to support anything, but there aren't a lot of straight substitutes for a full-length feature movie if that's what you want to do. If you're looking to pass the time reading something light...there are a lot of substitutes for that.
Tom, what's the business school take on this idea?