Apple, publishers, subscriptions and the future
It is the question on the table everytime we conduct iPad-app creation workshops worldwide: When do you think Apple will be more flexible, or publisher-friendly about the way it manages its relationship with newspapers and magazines that wish to sell subscriptions through their products published on the iPad?
Well, maybe Tuesday’s announcement by Apple gets us a little closer to the goal, but not close enough, say many publishers I have talked to.
“Apple is not yielding much,“ a European publisher who wishes to remain anonymous, wrote me yesterday. “There should be greater cooperation. Simply because the iPad is the most popular tablet, Apple should not be calling the shots they way it is right now. We hope to be able to sell subscriptions through other tablet vendors very soon, not that we don’t like Apple, or recognize the popularity of their iPad, but we simply wish to have a piece of the pie as well. It is our products, after all.“
In a nutshell: Apple on Tuesday announced that it now has cleared the way for media companies to begin selling subscriptions to their magazine, newspaper, music and video content on the iPad and its other devices. It will take 30% of all subscriptions sold through its store, as well as getting ownership of all the subscriber data gathered in the process. Publishing companies can receive customer data only if an iTunes customer who buys a digital subscription agrees to share his name and email address with the publisher. Some publishers are saying they will pull their app out of the iTunes store. Others are contemplating options, knowing that it may cost them customers if their apps are not there.
In the balance: Now it is a wait and see as for how publishers will react the Apple announcement, especially those who have their special arrangements to sell subscriptions to their customers.The Wall Street Journal, the Financial Times and the Economist are among the publishers that use their own billing systems to sell bundled subscriptions across print, online and digital devices