Apple launches subscriptions in App Store for magazines, newspapers, videos and music
Apple announced a subscription service through its App Store for publishers of magazines, newspapers, videos, music and other content on Tuesday.
Apple's offer to content publishers is the same one it dealt to News Corp., which recently launched The Daily -- a daily digital news magazine app only available on the iPad.
The deal gives Apple a 30% cut of all subscription revenue for purchases made through the Apple App Store or within an iPad, iPhone or iPod app.
Publishers can set their own prices and the length of the subscription term, while the Cupertino-based tech giant processes the payments.
Previous to Apple's subscription service, publishers (excluding News Corp. and The Daily) had to sell their content one issue, video, song or album at a time.
"Our philosophy is simple," Apple CEO Steve Jobs said in a statement. "When Apple brings a new subscriber to the app, Apple earns a 30% share; when the publisher brings an existing or new subscriber to the app, the publisher keeps 100% and Apple earns nothing.
"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."
Apple is giving iOS app users the option of sharing their personal information with publishers or not -- including name, e-mail address and ZIP Code -- which could cut down on how much subscriber information publishers get through Apple.
Publishers have to provide their own authentication process within their iOS apps for users who have signed up for subscriptions outside the App Store, Apple said.
Apple's App Store has more than 350,000 apps available to customers in 90 countries. About 60,000 of those apps are designed for the iPad. The company said it has sold more than 160 million iOS devices worldwide.
The market for Apple App Store users is something publishers have been looking to tap into for some time, with many looking at Apple's business and that of other mobile ecosystems such as Google's Android Marketplace and the Android operating system, to help boost sagging sales in traditional media industries such as print, video and music.
So far, sales of magazines on Apple's iPad have started off strong, but usually fall after a few months for many publications.
Apple's App Store could also face increased competition from Google's Android, which is said to be working on creating a digital newsstand of its own.
-- Nathan Olivarez-Giles
Photo: The Daily app for Apple's iPad is displayed in New York on Feb. 2 as News Corp. unveils the new publication. Photographer: Jonathan Fickies / Bloomberg