Hearst, Apple ink iPad subscriptions deal

“In a big win for Apple Inc., Hearst Corp. said it agreed to sell subscriptions to the iPad editions of a range of its magazines through iTunes,” Russell Adams reports for The Wall Street Journal.

“Starting with their July issues, iPad apps for Esquire, Popular Mechanics and O, The Oprah Magazine, will be available through a service from Apple that allows customers to sign up for subscriptions inside the apps and get billed automatically,” Adams reports. “Subscriptions to all three publications will be sold for $1.99 a month or $19.99 a year. Hearst said it will eventually sell newspaper apps and other content it owns on a subscription basis through iTunes, too.”

“Hearst is the first major magazine publisher to commit to selling subscriptions to multiple titles through it,” Adams reports. “Apple stipulates that publishers can sell digital content for Apple devices on their own websites, but any content they make available directly to consumers also has to be offered in the App Store for the same price or lower. Furthermore, Apple takes 30% of all sales in the App Store. But without the App Store, publishers must ask iPad users to download a new issue each week or month, and pay separately for each issue.”

Adams reports, “Over the course of recent talks with Apple, however, publishers have become more comfortable with the terms under which their titles will be sold in the App Store, according to people familiar with the talks. Executives also say Apple has shown more flexibility on pricing… As for the information sharing, publishers say they rely on knowing some basics about readers to court advertisers and market their other products to consumers. But publishing executives say they are more confident they will be able to work within Apple’s guidelines to find out who their iPad readers are.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: $1.99 a month or $19.99 a year. Now we’re getting somewhere!

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Readers “Fred Mertz” and “Angel C.” for the heads up.]


  1. It’s moving in the right direction, however I think it is blatantly unfair for Apple to price fix what a publisher can charge for a subscription outside of the appstore. If the costs for delivering the issue are cheaper why should the publisher not be able to pass that savings onto the customer. I don’t agree with the percentage Apple is charging pubs for a guaranteed purchase monthly or yearly, but it is there store and they can charge whatever they want to.

    Why doesn’t Apple put it’s money where it’s mouth is and let the customer decide what is most important, saving money or the ease of in app purchasing. I for one don’t forsee myself subscribing to any magazines within this current subscription model that Apple is forcing down the publishers throats. I’ll stick with Zinio for now and the free iPad copies of the magazines that I already subscribe to thank you very much.

      1. Mistakes like that used to bother me too. No longer.
        Purpose of communication, oral or written, is to get
        your message across. His meaning is clear in spite
        of grammatical errors. No problem! I counted 16
        errors. Damn, now you got me doing it also. 🙂

    1. Apple isn’t price fixing or dictating publisher pricing. There policy is that publishers involved with Apple subscription services must make the best price offered available through Apple. Apple pays for the App store overhead via there 30% cut of sales. All Apple is asking for is not to stabbed in the back by publishers offering better prices elsewhere.

  2. Though a welcoming news, I wonder if they’re somewhat a bit late to the party.

    When iPad was a relatively new platform (separate from iOS), customer expectations were still forming; they had a unique opportunity to help guide/nudge the customers towards the paid contents.

    iPad was intuitively the modern version of printed materials like newspaper and magazines. But once you deny the initial users and force them to rely on the free web, that early window of opportunity vanishes.

    Few current users now think that they must part with any sum of money to consume the daily/weekly news. They want instant news à la twitter or bing/google/yahoo news aggregates, and paid subscription is now more of an artificial value proposition. Once that paradigm sinks in, it’s very hard to convince people to think otherwise, just ask NYT and their paid subscription wall keepers.

  3. Hah! A big win for Apple? I was laughing before I finished the first paragraph! Hearst is lucky to find an outlet for that trash… They’ve been so far behind the curve for so long they will never catch up!

  4. Ok, but if I’m gonna subscribe I want the whole shabang – that means clissifieds too, (where applicable)… Especially with regard to newspaper subs.

  5. Sorry, MDN. $1.99/mo is *still* way too much for those titles. I pay for content and writing, not for fluff. That’s why Murdoch’s Daily disappeared so quickly.

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