App subscription issues continue to dog Apple, publishers
As it continues to haggle with publishers over subscription models for iPhone and iPad magazine and newspaper apps, Apple is reportedly cracking down on publishers who are offering free access to iPad editions for print subscribers.
Apple Insider reported today that Apple has told a few European newspaper publishers that as of April 1 they will no longer be able to offer print subscribers free access to iPad editions. Apple apparently is not happy that this model enables publishers to bypass the 30 percent revenue cut that Apple takes from all app sales.
Apple Insider says it hasn’t seen similar reports from U.S. publishers. But if Apple is clamping down on this practice, it could affect publications such as People magazine, which since last August has been offering similarly free access to its iPad edition to existing print subscribers.
The moves come as Apple is putting the finishing touches on its own iTunes subscription service. Sources told the WSJ’s Peter Kafka that problems with the subscription service have delayed the launch of News Corp.’s iPad-only publication, called The Daily.
The problems that Apple and others are having point to the complexity of a workable subscription model for digital editions sold through app stores. Next Issue Media appears to be having issues as well, as it continues to dial back on both the initial scope and the general availability of its digital newsstand.
CEO Morgan Guenther told the WSJ this week that the company’s digital newsstand service will launch in the next few months – a subtle slippage from the company’s previous proclamations of a planned Q1 launch. The Journal also reported that the service will launch with only two titles, with a “full lineup” due from the venture’s five media partners (Condé Nast, Hearst Corp., Meredith Corp., News Corp. and Time Inc.) by the summer.