Apple, magazine publishers reach deal for subscriptions on iPad

Posted:
in iPad edited January 2014
People became the first print magazine to offer subscribers free access to its iPad application Thursday, apparently paving the way for others to follow.



According to Philip Elmer-DeWitt of Fortune, Time Inc. broke the impasse that has existed for months between publishers and Apple. He said that Time's other publications are expected to follow the same path as People in the next 30 days, including Fortune, Time, and Sports Illustrated.



"It's not clear what took so long," Elmer-DeWitt wrote. "Publishers who were encouraged to build iPad apps by Steve Jobs himself say they were ready from the start to make them free to subscribers. Until now, however, Apple would neither give them the tools they needed, nor explain what was holding them up."



He added: "The publishers still can't sell subscriptions through the App Store, which is how they would prefer to do it."



Last month, it was noted that Time and other magazine publishers were frustrated as they were blocked from allowing subscribing customers the ability to access a digital version of the magazine on the IPad. Publishers said that Apple had rejected the option without explaining its policy.



Users, instead, were left only to pay the $4.99-per-issue newsstand price of publications like Sports Illustrated, which led to extremely negative reviews on the App Store.







Magazine officials were surprised by Apple's rejection, as the company made a major effort to reach out to them and others. Officials were reportedly under the impression that subscription plans were acceptable to Apple.



Some iPad App Store software, such as Amazon's Kindle, or The Wall Street Journal's application, allow for customers to be charged directly instead of buying an application. But other content providers, like The New York Times, have yet to offer digital subscriptions.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 50
    anonymouseanonymouse Posts: 6,580member
    So, how exactly will this work? It wasn't clear to me from this or the linked to article.
  • Reply 2 of 50
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by anonymouse View Post


    So, how exactly will this work? It wasn't clear to me from this or the linked to article.



    Well, I am sitting here at the Boardwalk in Santa Cruz, CA. If I had a sub to the magazine -- I could read it at no charge.



    Sent from my iPad.



    .
  • Reply 3 of 50
    jragostajragosta Posts: 10,473member
    What's the point of a one sided debate from disgruntled people?



    Do you really think Apple didn't tell magazines what to do to meet their standards? Rejections from the App Store always have a reason.
  • Reply 4 of 50
    anonymouseanonymouse Posts: 6,580member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Dick Applebaum View Post


    Well, I am sitting here at the Boardwalk in Santa Cruz, CA. If I had a sub to the magazine -- I could read it at no charge.



    Sent from my iPad.



    .



    I got that part, sort of, but, how does that publisher/App Store know you have a subscription, and what if you don't?
  • Reply 5 of 50
    The irony of this to me is that I do not think the majority of users would find it incredible to pay a small but reasonable fee in addition to their print subscriptions to have digital access. I mean added value stuff is great and all (like what netflix seems so great at), but I would be willing to pay a small, one-time fee for access, and that goes directly into offsetting the inevitable costs of this kind of offering.
  • Reply 6 of 50
    dr millmossdr millmoss Posts: 5,403member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by jragosta View Post


    What's the point of a one sided debate from disgruntled people?



    Do you really think Apple didn't tell magazines what to do to meet their standards? Rejections from the App Store always have a reason.



    For once I actually agree with you. We only have ever heard from publishers in this dispute. Just because Apple has chosen not to explain themselves to us, doesn't mean they haven't done so to their partners. More than likely the publishers decided to air their displeasure publicly in order to put some pressure on Apple.
  • Reply 7 of 50
    mdriftmeyermdriftmeyer Posts: 7,281member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by anonymouse View Post


    I got that part, sort of, but, how does that publisher/App Store know you have a subscription, and what if you don't?



    How does any application know whether you are subscribed or not?
  • Reply 8 of 50
    mjtomlinmjtomlin Posts: 1,875member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by jragosta View Post


    What's the point of a one sided debate from disgruntled people?



    Do you really think Apple didn't tell magazines what to do to meet their standards? Rejections from the App Store always have a reason.



    Agreed. Until we have the whole story, this isn't a story. I'm guessing the magazines were attempting to collect subscription fees for the iPad version outside of the App Store. Apple pulled the apps until some sort of arrangement could be met.



    I can understand Apple's position here. They handle distribution costs for free apps. If these magazines are providing free apps to paid subscribers, that's a lot of money the magazines are saving by distributing through the App Store and a lot of money Apple is losing and could be collecting via sales through the store.
  • Reply 9 of 50
    anonymouseanonymouse Posts: 6,580member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by mdriftmeyer View Post


    How does any application know whether you are subscribed or not?



    Well, as far as I know, none of my apps knows what magazines I subscribe to.



    It would be nice to have some actual details on how this is supposed to work. Are they talking about print subscribers get it for free, or a separate e-sub? In app purchasing? Tracked by the App Store? (It seems not.) Enter code from print label (assuming by subscriber they mean print subscriber, which may not be the case)? That would be inconvenient if you don't have physical copy handy. Go to website to sub or buy single issue? How do you buy a single issue? All issues downloaded to single app? What happens to old ones? etc., etc.
  • Reply 10 of 50
    mjtomlinmjtomlin Posts: 1,875member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by mdriftmeyer View Post


    How does any application know whether you are subscribed or not?



    I would guess you'd have to go to their website and create a login account or get an access key... then enter that info in the application.
  • Reply 11 of 50
    ray27ray27 Posts: 3member
    My guess. Apple wanted a piece of the ad revenue for the "in app" ads. and it was a negotiation between how the revenue of ads in the magazines would be "shared" and what part iAds would play.



    Apple can't keep up with demand and doesn't want to lose to the now announced Goole Chrome tablet.
  • Reply 12 of 50
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by jragosta View Post


    What's the point of a one sided debate from disgruntled people?



    Do you really think Apple didn't tell magazines what to do to meet their standards? Rejections from the App Store always have a reason.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by anonymouse View Post


    I got that part, sort of, but, how does that publisher/App Store know you have a subscription, and what if you don't?



    It's been a while, but a mag sub has a label with your sub I'd. I imagine you register the app with the sub Id and other info to verify your account.



    .
  • Reply 13 of 50
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by ray27 View Post


    My guess. Apple wanted a piece of the ad revenue for the "in app" ads. and it was a negotiation between how the revenue of ads in the magazines would be "shared" and what part iAds would play.



    Apple can't keep up with demand and doesn't want to lose to the now announced Goole Chrome tablet.



    This is a baseless observation and highly unlikely.

    More likely Apple just wanted a proper slice of the subscription fees.
  • Reply 14 of 50
    The info on the People app in the iTunes App Store says you can buy each issue through iTunes or get it for free if you are a print subscriber. On the People support site for the app, they provide a link that appears to give you a way to link the app to your print subscription.



    Certainly better pricing than buying each issue! Although, I would prefer not having to buy any paper subscriptions, but they don't support that.
  • Reply 15 of 50
    technotechno Posts: 703member
    However they work out the business model, I hope that there is some umbrella app like iBooks to organize your subscriptions. I really don't want a bunch of proprietary apps spread out across my iPad. Instead, a uniformed file format like the books would be nice. What would be really nice, is if you could pay for subscription packages. You would pay X amount for 3 magazines for a year. You get to choose between a group. The groups could be tiered into different price points.
  • Reply 16 of 50
    Sorry, but I can't see paying out good money for a digital magazine full of ads.



    If a magazine wants my eyeballs they need to be interesting and at no cost. There is simply too much already available on the internet to have to pay.
  • Reply 17 of 50
    rob55rob55 Posts: 1,255member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by GadgetComa View Post


    ...Although, I would prefer not having to buy any paper subscriptions, but they don't support that.



    That's my issue as well. I don't want the print version of the magazine. To me, that's the whole point of having the electronic version. I don't want to have to subscribe to the print version just to have free access to the electronic version. Let me pay some percentage of the print subscription (and in place of it) so I can have access on the iPad.
  • Reply 18 of 50
    anonymouseanonymouse Posts: 6,580member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by GadgetComa View Post


    The info on the People app in the iTunes App Store says you can buy each issue through iTunes or get it for free if you are a print subscriber. On the People support site for the app, they provide a link that appears to give you a way to link the app to your print subscription.



    Certainly better pricing than buying each issue! Although, I would prefer not having to buy any paper subscriptions, but they don't support that.



    So it looks like their subscriber list is linked through in app purchasing (free), or you buy single issues through in app purchasing. Interesting.
  • Reply 19 of 50
    daharderdaharder Posts: 1,580member
    ZINIO... Enough Said
  • Reply 20 of 50
    anonymouseanonymouse Posts: 6,580member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Rob55 View Post


    That's my issue as well. I don't want the print version of the magazine. To me, that's the whole point of having the electronic version. I don't want to have to subscribe to the print version just to have free access to the electronic version. Let me pay some percentage of the print subscription (and in place of it) so I can have access on the iPad.



    Have the print version sent to your doctor's office. That way they'll actually have up to date reading material there, and you won't have to throw it away.



    Anyway, I don't think there's ever going to be a significant price difference (if any) between the print- and e-versions, if they were offered separately. Their cost differential between a print- or e-copy is probably not that great (cheap paper, cheap printing, most of the costs not involved in printing and distribution), so they aren't going to be saving lots of money on e-only subs to pass along, and what little difference there is, if they do offer e-only subs at some point, they'd probably prefer to pocket.
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