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Apple app store policy change is good news for publishers

June 9, 2011 | 10:56 am


A change in policies in Apple's App Store is good news for publishers. The policy change, which affects "in-app subscriptions," will mean that subscription-based publications -- such as magazines and, yes, newspapers -- have greater flexibility with pricing and also with the content they deliver.

Our Technology Blog reports:

According to the website MacRumors, which first reported on changes made to Apple's App Store Review Guidelines, the changes free up publishers' iOS apps to access content purchased outside of Apple and possibly not even offer subscriptions through the App Store if a company so chooses.

The new guidelines, which are made available only to developers, were quoted by MacRumors: "11.14 Apps can read or play approved content (specifically magazines, newspapers, books, audio, music, and video) that is subscribed to or purchased outside of the app, as long as there is no button or external link in the app to purchase the approved content. Apple will not receive any portion of the revenues for approved content that is subscribed to or purchased outside of the app"

... Apple has also removed its rule that subscriptions offered through its App Store be the "same price or less than it is offered outside the app," MacRumors said, which would allow publishers to even charge a premium for in-app subscriptions to make up for the 30% revenue cut Apple takes.

The move undoes Apple's stance in February, when it announced Apple's App Store Subscription service saying, "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 now has no specific guidelines on pricing.


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-- Carolyn Kellogg

Photo: The iPad 2 in March. Credit: Jeff Chiu / Associated Press