Apple, publishers reportedly still haggling over magazine app subscriptions

“Apple and the publishing industry haven’t been able to come to terms over magazine app subscriptions: Publishers want the ability to sell the subscriptions themselves, or at least the opportunity to hang on to subscribers’ personal data. And Steve Jobs won’t let them,” Peter Kafka reports for AllThingsD.

Here’s what Apple is offering publishers, according to publishing sources:
• The ability to sell app subscriptions through iTunes.
• 70 percent of the revenue from each sale.
• The ability to offer an opt-in form for subscribers that would ask them for a limited amount of information: Name, mailing address, email address.

Kafka reports, “That offer has been on the table for a ‘couple months,’ I’m told, and so far none of the big publishers have gone for it. They don’t like the 30 percent cut that Apple wants to take, but their real hang-up is lack of access to credit card data: It’s valuable to them for marketing, and without it they can’t offer print/digital bundles, either. So for now, they’re hoping to get what they want from Google and Android, and assume Apple will come around eventually.”

Kafka reports, “That doesn’t mean you won’t see any magazine subscription offerings on iTunes in the meantime.”

Read more in the full article, including info about News Corp.’s “Daily,” here.

MacDailyNews Take: Sounds like publishers do not yet fully appreciate the value of what iTunes Store can deliver to them. Sooner or later, they will.


  1. Don’t the publishers realize Apple is the e-reader future and people won’t subscribe to everything that comes along. They are much better off being something that might be bought on an iPad, instead of something that can’t be bought on an iPad, because two pieces of reader hardware isn’t going to happen.

  2. Even if your magazine is very tiny, and has a circulation of 1000 copies (monthly), if you even sell a single advertisement in it, you will HAVE to have basic subscriber data in order to get anything even remotely decent from that advertiser.

    I can understand why publishers are trying to hold onto as much subscriber info as possible. Apple is trying hard to completely cut them out of this loop, and it is clear that this is the line in the sand for the publishing industry. We’ll have to watch how this unfolds, but the magazines (and newspapers) will have a very, very hard time capitulating on this one.

  3. What the matter with these guys? Don’t they realize as an iPad owner i don’t want to give my credit card to anyone else–giving it to Apple and buying through them is the model i prefer. The other thing they need to get is that i expect a huge discount since they don’t have to print and distribute physical magazines. If they could get to .99$ an issue, I’d probably have 20 magazine per month, right now i get none because I’m aghast at the prices.

  4. For magazines to survive, they need to be able to offer their advertizers proof of readership, demographics of a basic sort and the ability to push premium advertiser specials via some form of targeted ad through email or other venue.

    Without basic information on customers, the magazines in-effect do NOT have a symbiotic relationship between advertiser and app version subscriber.

    I predict Apple will give in to the point needed to make magazine apps work for the magazines.

  5. All terribly worrying. Is Apple trying to turn Publishers into their serfs, or not? The last thing we want to do is to swap one Baron – the monopolistic newsagent chains – for another.
    It could be out of one frying pan into another.
    Alex Mac – The Beef magazine (UKs Biggest Readers!)

  6. Advertising is slavery, serfdom, prostitution, theft, propaganda, in short the root of most evil.

    Offer me an ad-free experience, cleanly designed as such and I will gladly pay for my freedom — the cost of only that content I choose.

  7. Apple should take 40% off. They’re too greedy and I’ve seen printed articles of big publishers that are completely off base. Computer World is one example, sometimes even publishing the most stupidly biased articles I’ve ever read.

  8. more importantly i am not comfortable with news paper guys having my credit card info!! when i buy the news paper from the corner stand, the guy does not ask me for my credit card nor does he store that info.

    Thanks Apple for defending our privacy…

  9. Them fat greedy bastards! I am with those who have not authorized Apple inc. to pass personal information let alone credit card details.
    If TFGD’s want more details, they should sign into Apple incs. advertising business, through advertising hits, the advertiser can get customers to either buy their products through the magazine app or into a shop via an e-voucher which will be accredited to the magazine app it was sourced from, thus giving the advertiser a feel for the quality of buyers the magazine app is attracting and so pay more for ad. placements.

  10. “Publishers want the ability to sell the subscriptions themselves, or at least the opportunity to hang on to subscribers’ personal data.”

    This is an inter-corporation war over who ‘OWNS’ the customer. More Marketing-Moron mania. And of course the customer loses no matter which marketing-morons win.

    We’re just meat with money.

    *Kick The Corporate Oligarchy In The Balls!*

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