Apple's iPad a driving force behind new newspaper subscriptions

Posted:
in iPad edited January 2014
John Ridding, chief executive of the Financial Times, named the iPad among mobile devices driving 20 percent of the paper's new online subscriptions, noting nearly a half million downloads of his newspaper's iPad app.



A report by Reuters quoted Ridding as saying, "The rapid emergence of tablet devices is a potentially profound development for publishers."



The Financial Times has erected a paywall on its website that seeks to charge viewers a subscription after reading a set threshold of stories, a business model that has run into resistance from web viewers used to accessing content for free. However, iPad users are increasingly seeking out sources of quality content, and prepared to pay for apps that deliver this. The paper said its iPad app had been downloaded 480,000 times.



Apple is seeking to set up in-app subscription support for newspaper publishers, starting with yesterday's launch of the Daily with News Corp. It is expected to release iOS 4.3 soon to deliver the technical support for billing users for regular updates.



Newspapers and journalism in general have been battered by emergence of the web, which facilitates widespread distribution with very little revenue in return. Newspaper's own print advertising has been replaced with banner ads and paid search, a market that is largely owned by Google, which has increasingly lowered the value of content producer's ad placements as it increasingly becomes the only way to monitize web content.



This all happened before



Not all Publishers are excited about the prospects of having their content published through Apple's iTunes, with a group of European publishers recently convening to discuss how this might affect their business.



Grzegorz Piechota, president of the European Online Publishers Association trade group, said that "by promoting these apps, they [content producers] promoted the device. Publishers in fact helped to make the iPad successful on the market."



His remarks sound very similar to demands once made by record label executives such as Warner Music head Edgar Bronfman Jr, who once insisted that Apple's iPod owed much of its value to the music business and should therefore be paying them, not taking a cut of the music sold through iTunes. Back in 2005, Bronfman actually said, "we are selling our songs through iPod, but we don?t have a share of iPod?s revenue. We want to share in those revenue streams. We have to get out of the mindset that our content has promotional value only."



Bronfman was clearly one of the executives Apple's chief executive Steve Jobs had in mind when he said of the music industry, "If they want to raise the prices, it means that they are getting greedy. If the price goes up, they [consumers] will go back to piracy and everybody loses." Bronfman later derided Steve Jobs' advocacy of discontinuing DRM within iTunes as "completely without logic or merit" in early 2007.



By the end of that year however, Bronfman had changed his perspective. In an interview with MacUser in November of 2007, he admitted, "we used to fool ourselves. We used to think our content was perfect just exactly as it was. We expected our business would remain blissfully unaffected even as the world of interactivity, constant connection and file sharing was exploding.



"And of course we were wrong. How were we wrong? By standing still or moving at a glacial pace, we inadvertently went to war with consumers by denying them what they wanted and could otherwise find and as a result of course, consumers won."



The music executive noted that "by packaging a full album into a bundle of music with ringtones, videos and other combinations and variation we found products that consumers demonstrably valued and were willing to purchase at premium prices. And guess what? We've sold tons of them. And with Apple's co-operation to make discovering, accessing and purchasing these products even more seamless and intuitive, we'll be offering many, many more of these products going forward."



Bronfman went on to praise Apple for its "beautifully designed" iPhone and its "brilliantly written software." It has a "spectacular user interface" that "throws all the accepted notions about pricing, billing platforms and brand loyalty right out the window," he said.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 16
    penchantedpenchanted Posts: 1,070member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post


    John Ridding, chief executive of the Financial Times, named the iPad among mobile devices driving 20 percent of the paper's new online subscriptions, noting nearly a half million downloads of his newspaper's iPad app.



    Quote:

    The Financial Times has erected a paywall on its website that seeks to charge viewers a subscription after reading a set threshold of stories, a business model that has run into resistance from web viewers used to accessing content for free. However, iPad users are increasingly seeking out sources of quality content, and prepared to pay for apps that deliver this. The paper said its iPad app had been downloaded 480,000 times.



    And people are surprised that Apple would like a piece of the action.
  • Reply 2 of 16
    Better late than never, I guess. Welcome to the club Edgar.



    As far as FT, I had a trial subscription and although I enjoyed it, it was a little too dry for me. Having said that, I really enjoyed their Saturday edition...Travel, food, Reviews, fashion, etc.



    I can see why people in finance would like this App for their iPad. I would.



    I get the WSJ print edition and my least read section is Money & Finance, which to me is just about how the whole of FT reads. I enjoy Market Place the front section with world and national news and the editorials and of course the Personal Journal.



    I plan to make a concerted effort to have all my print subscriptions, WSJ, MacWorld, Time, Foreign Affairs, etc., etc., converted over to the new iPad 2 when it comes out.



    PS. The iPad is a godsend to any high brow (low distribution) publications and they should all jump on it sooner rather than later!



    Best



    PS. Most subscriptions should be $19.95 for a year. I can see WSJ, FT getting $49/year. But no multi-million dollar presses, no trucks for delivery....they should all get onboard or they will all be like Edger-whimsical, about how they missed the boat!
  • Reply 3 of 16
    addaboxaddabox Posts: 12,664member
    Now I wonder how the Android market's apparent bias against paying for things will play out in this new world of electronic subscriptions?



    Naturally, publishers will repsond to Android's ubiquity and make their offerings available, but if they don't get any return on their investment, what then? I guess they could try the same ad supported model as everything else on the platform, but to get enough money out of that the publishers would probably have to make their subscription offerings mostly ads, which I'm guessing would be a tougher sell than sticking some ads onto games and the like.
  • Reply 4 of 16
    Ah, the case for publishing industry exceptionalism. It's okay for the music industry to embrace the iTunes reality, but we're different, we're better.
  • Reply 5 of 16
    rainrain Posts: 538member
    .....
  • Reply 6 of 16
    ...huh?
  • Reply 7 of 16
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post


    Bronfman was clearly one of the executives Apple's chief executive Steve Jobs had in mind when he said of the music industry, "If they want to raise the prices, it means that they are getting greedy. If the price goes up, they [consumers] will go back to piracy and everybody loses." Bronfman later derided Steve Jobs' advocacy of discontinuing DRM within iTunes as "completely without logic or merit" in early 2007.



    By the end of that year however, Bronfman had changed his perspective. In an interview with MacUser in November of 2007, he admitted, "we used to fool ourselves. We used to think our content was perfect just exactly as it was. We expected our business would remain blissfully unaffected even as the world of interactivity, constant connection and file sharing was exploding.



    LMAO. Great history reminder. This is one epic reversal.
  • Reply 8 of 16
    addaboxaddabox Posts: 12,664member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by christopher126 View Post


    ...huh?



    Don't play dumb. Your temperate, even handed and uncontroversial remarks clearly brand you as a monster.
  • Reply 9 of 16
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by addabox View Post


    Don't play dumb. Your temperate, even handed and uncontroversial remarks clearly brand you as a monster.



    Thanks, addabox!
  • Reply 10 of 16
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by addabox View Post


    Don't play dumb. Your temperate, even handed and uncontroversial remarks clearly brand you as a monster.



    Rain seems to be one of those rare beasts: the self-loathing Mac user. His post history seems to indicate that he actually does use and enjoy his Apple products, but never misses a chance the bash the man and the company that brings them to him.
  • Reply 11 of 16
    Greed was the major stumbling block that tripped up the music publishers. Greed is now the major stumbling block for the magazine and book publishers.



    Apple's genius was to charge just $1 per song for music. Publishers wanted to sell whole albums rather than single tracks. Apple understood that most albums are filled with songs the customers don't want. Being forced to buy an entire album to get the one or two songs you like isn't attractive. But the $1 per song price point made it an impulse purchase.



    By pushing for subscriptions, the magazine publishers are going to blow this. Magazines and newspapers are just like music CD's. There is typically just a fraction of an issue that you and I want to read.



    I really liked the Financial times before they put up the paywall. When I saw their pricing, I opted out.



    Now I like The Daily and I might even subscribe. But I really think they have it over-priced. $39 or $52 per year is enough to make me pause. It's not an impulse decisions. Their strategy of going for millions of readers is correct. But not the pricing. It needs to get down to the impulse buy category. I'm thinking $10 per year would be about right. At that price, many of us, perhaps most, would say, "Why not?"



    I really think there is an extreme amount of price elasticity for these products. Financial Times blew it on the pricing decision. The Daily moved in the right direction on pricing but not far enough. Get it down to $10 per year and then tell those advertisers about your millions of subscribers. That's the way to go.
  • Reply 12 of 16
    macrulezmacrulez Posts: 2,455member
    deleted
  • Reply 13 of 16
    jd_in_sbjd_in_sb Posts: 1,600member
    Glad to see Edgar admit his mistakes. Most industry execs would never do that.
  • Reply 14 of 16
    http://www.thedaily.com/page/2011/02...-gabby-ipad-1/



    A great iPad add but for the tragic circumstances that beset the speaker.
  • Reply 15 of 16
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by davesmall View Post


    Greed was the major stumbling block that tripped up the music publishers. Greed is now the major stumbling block for the magazine and book publishers.



    Apple's genius was to charge just $1 per song for music. Publishers wanted to sell whole albums rather than single tracks. Apple understood that most albums are filled with songs the customers don't want. Being forced to buy an entire album to get the one or two songs you like isn't attractive. But the $1 per song price point made it an impulse purchase.



    By pushing for subscriptions, the magazine publishers are going to blow this. Magazines and newspapers are just like music CD's. There is typically just a fraction of an issue that you and I want to read.



    I really liked the Financial times before they put up the paywall. When I saw their pricing, I opted out.



    Now I like The Daily and I might even subscribe. But I really think they have it over-priced. $39 or $52 per year is enough to make me pause. It's not an impulse decisions. Their strategy of going for millions of readers is correct. But not the pricing. It needs to get down to the impulse buy category. I'm thinking $10 per year would be about right. At that price, many of us, perhaps most, would say, "Why not?"



    I really think there is an extreme amount of price elasticity for these products. Financial Times blew it on the pricing decision. The Daily moved in the right direction on pricing but not far enough. Get it down to $10 per year and then tell those advertisers about your millions of subscribers. That's the way to go.



    I personally think that most magazines as we know them will fold within the next 5-10 years.



    A far better model is story syndication, actually quite similar to the music model and RSS feeds.



    A syndication agency purchases stories from freelancers, and makes all of them available, possibly from within their app, so that YOU the user, can basically build your own newspaper magazine, with stories and news that YOU are interested in.



    For example (also reported on at Macworld):



    http://blogs.computerworld.com/17664...publishing_too



    and of course Flipboard:



    http://www.macworld.com/article/1561..._mwnws_h_crawl
  • Reply 16 of 16
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Robin Huber View Post


    Rain seems to be one of those rare beasts: the self-loathing Mac user. His post history seems to indicate that he actually does use and enjoy his Apple products, but never misses a chance the bash the man and the company that brings them to him.



    I'd recommend taking everything in his post history with a very large grain of salt.
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