Publishers make progress on iPad subscriptions
Magazine publishers – at least the industry giants – are getting more of what they want from Apple. Enough at least to begin launching subscriptions to iPad editions through iTunes.
Condé Nast is the latest to join the subscription party, announcing today that it has begun offering iPad subscription plans for The New Yorker. iPad subscriptions for Condé’s other iPad titles, including Vanity Fair, Wired and GQ, will be available by the end of May.
The news follows Hearst’s announcement last week that it will begin offering iPad subscriptions for Esquire, O, The Oprah Magazine and Popular Mechanics in June. Bonnier was the first publisher to launch an iPad subscription plan, for Popular Science in February.
It’s hard to tell how or even if the publishers have resolved the two main points of contention that slowed the release of their subscription offerings on the iPad: Apple’s 30 percent cut of any subscriptions sold through iTunes and its unwillingness to share customer data, which publishers consider the lifeblood of subscriptions.
For now, at least, any customer data collection through iTunes remains opt-in only. Apple offers an opt-in prompt in its terms of service; Condé has added a second in-app prompt that offers access to “bonus content” in exchange for email registration. Condé also will “own” the customer relationship for any digital bundles sold through its website.
“We are confident we will have the data we need to make this a strong business long term,” spokeswoman Mistrella Murphy said.
Murphy declined to comment on whether Condé had negotiated a better revenue share than Apple’s stated 70/30 split for app publishers. She also declined to say what type of lift in digital sales the company is expecting from its new subscription offerings.
Subscriptions to The New Yorker's weekly iPad editions cost $5.99 a month (4 issues) or $59.99 a year. Print/digital bundles cost $6.99 a month or $69.99 a year. Subscriptions for Wired, Vanity Fair, Glamour, Golf Digest, Allure, Self and GQ will be $1.99 a month or $19.99 annually.