Apple launches subscriptions to App Store: Boon for traditional media?

Apple launches subscriptions to App Store: Boon for traditional media?

Summary: Apple launched subscriptions to the App Store in a move that was previewed with the launch of News Corp.'s "The Daily" iPad newspaper. The subscription program's nuances may turn out to be a help to traditional publishers.

SHARE:

Apple on Tuesday launched subscriptions to the App Store in a move that was previewed with the launch of News Corp.'s "The Daily" iPad newspaper. The subscription program's nuances may turn out to be a help to traditional publishers.

In a nutshell, subscriptions within the App Store will use the same app billing system, but publishers will set the price and length of subscription.

Customers can review and manage accounts from their account page in the App Store. Apple keeps 30 percent.

The move is likely to make iPad magazines and newspapers much more appealing to the masses. A magazine that can't sell a subscription is neutered from a business model perspective on the iPad. Now that the subscription hurdle is cleared, we'll see if traditional publishers can sell titles.

Apple CEO Steve Jobs said:

“All we require is that, if a publisher is making a subscription offer outside of the app, the same (or better) offer be made inside the app, so that customers can easily subscribe with one-click right in the app.

Bottom line: Apple's move to add subscriptions to the App Store is like the gun that starts a race to garner subscriptions among traditional publishers. As I noted in my Kindle Single, 2011 is the year of media subscriptions. The rub is we don’t know whether consumers will go along for the ride. It’s quite possible that 2011 will merely be the year of trying to do media subscriptions.

The other key item in the Apple subscription model is that publishers can acquire subscribers outside the app. Publishers will be allowed to sell digital subscriptions on their site. That move entices publishers to push these digital sales. Apple explains:

Since Apple is not involved in these transactions, there is no revenue sharing or exchange of customer information with Apple. Publishers must provide their own authentication process inside the app for subscribers that have signed up outside of the app. However, Apple does require that if a publisher chooses to sell a digital subscription separately outside of the app, that same subscription offer must be made available, at the same price or less, to customers who wish to subscribe from within the app. In addition, publishers may no longer provide links in their apps (to a web site, for example) which allow the customer to purchase content or subscriptions outside of the app.

That's a windy explanation, but it's a big bone to throw to traditional publishers.

Related:

Topics: Software Development, Apple, Apps, Browser, Enterprise Software, Software

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.

Talkback

16 comments
Log in or register to join the discussion
  • Overall ...

    ... that sounds great! (However I believe Apple should give example scenarios at the end of its stipulation about customers purchasing subscriptions outside of an iPad app, to increase comprehension.)
    P. Douglas
    • RE: Apple launches subscriptions to App Store: Boon for traditional media?

      @P. Douglas <br>When you actually read the detail Apple provides it likens Apple to a property manager (ie: retail mall) where they are not only asking for money from the renters/leasers but also a cut of what they are selling from those mall stores.
      rhonin
  • RE: Apple launches subscriptions to App Store: Boon for traditional media?

    That sound you hear is the universe being dented yet again.
    dheady@...
    • RE: Apple launches subscriptions to App Store: Boon for traditional media?

      @dheady@...
      <a href="http://cupu.web.id/deal-special-dari-kriskros-com/">Deal Special dari KrisKros.com</a>
      <a href="http://www.seo.corsva.com/">Deal Special dari KrisKros.com</a>
      <a href="http://www.seoweblog.net/deal-special-dari-kriskros-com/">Deal Special dari KrisKros.com</a>
      upinson
  • Why pay for information in 2011?

    Rupert Murdoch and rest of the stodgy, old farts who run newspapers and magazines just don't seem to understand that the we really don't need to pay for news, anymore. If I want to know what's going on in the World, its pretty easy to find a hundred different people online to tell me.
    trickytom3
    • RE: Apple launches subscriptions to App Store: Boon for traditional media?

      @trickytom3 Somebody has to "get" and report the news. The majority of the 100 other people are regurgitating someone else's fact gathering. Information wants to be free, but somewhere it has to be created.
      jokila
      • Not really...

        @jokila

        Are you paying for ZDnet? Nope. It's ad-driven, and its just one of a hundred other tech news sources that don't cost you a dime.
        trickytom3
      • RE: Apple launches subscriptions to App Store: Boon for traditional media?

        @trickytom3 Correct, it is ad-driven but what percentage of what is found on ZDnet is primarily regurgitated information taken from or linked to an outside original source?
        non-biased
  • Subscriptions SUCK!!!!!!!!!!

    EPIC FAIL!!!!!
    james347
    • RE: Apple launches subscriptions to App Store: Boon for traditional media?

      @james347 - I disagree. I'd rather pay a small amount monthly than a significant sum once a year.

      I find it interesting though that Apple stopped short of announcing a subscription music service - something that Microsoft has been offering for some 4-5 years now and which is beloved by Zune customers.
      bitcrazed
      • RE: Apple launches subscriptions to App Store: Boon for traditional media?

        @bitcrazed

        So you would rather pay the mafia a monthly protection fee is what you are saying? Stop talking now, listen and learn.
        james347
  • Who in their right mind would sign up for a subscription

    where the lenth of time is determined by someone else?

    So if I decide I don't want to stay a member everything I downloaded disappears?
    John Zern
  • Really?

    Do you really think that Netflix is going to give Apple 30% and keep their rates flat for those subscribers?
    StellarView
    • RE: Apple launches subscriptions to App Store: Boon for traditional media?

      @StellarView
      and that is the problem with this. For those retailers that bow to this model, it will pass on additional costs to its customers, affecting not just those with idevices, but also for those that do not.

      I highly suspect we will see some type of legislative action in the near term if this holds up.
      :(
      rhonin
      • RE: Apple launches subscriptions to App Store: Boon for traditional media?

        @zenwalker

        Why legistate this? Don't we have enough laws. Let the consumer decide.
        davidmpaul
  • Jobs leaves hospital to suck the remaining blood from media corpses

    NT
    jacksonjohn