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Posted at 10:35 AM ET, 02/15/2011

Apple app store to offer subscriptions

By Hayley Tsukayama

Apple announced Tuesday that it will begin taking subscriptions through its Mac App Store for "all publishers of content-based apps."

Apple is using the same deal it has for The Daily for those publishers -- it will take 30 percent of subscriptions bought through the app store. However, if the publisher brings the subscriber to the app through its own Web site or by other means, the publisher gets 100 percent of the subscription money.

There's also a lot of complicated negotiation between what publishers and subscribers can do within an app and outside an app, but the gist of Apple's system is that a subscriber should be able to have equal access to non-app subscription features through a given app.

According to Apple's press release, subscribers can pick the length of a subscription as determined by the publisher (weekly, monthly, etc.) and manage subscriptions from a central list. Publishers are not allowed to offer outside (non-Apple) subscription deals from within an app, and have to provide their own system of authentication to let current subscribers take advantage of in-app features.

Publishers are required to offer any outside subscription deals to app subscribers as well, at the same price or less.

Addressing privacy concerns, Apple will offer the subscriber the option of whether or not to release their information to the publisher when purchasing the app in-store. The way that information is used is governed by the publisher's privacy policy.

What do you think about being able to subscribe to content from within the app store?

By Hayley Tsukayama  | February 15, 2011; 10:35 AM ET
Categories:  Apple, Digital culture  
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Comments

"the jist"
gist

Posted by: wiredog | February 15, 2011 10:41 AM | Report abuse

Giving the customer the option of purchasing content within an app is consumer friendly. But, there will be considerable squawking from publishers because they will have more difficulty getting private information to resell to aggregators.

Posted by: query0 | February 15, 2011 1:36 PM | Report abuse

I don't suspect publishers are going to buy into this any easier than the music industry bought into iTunes. And Apple is bending over backwards to give publishers a great advantage. The aspect of iTunes music delivery hat was revolutionary was the .99 cent song. The universal pricing gave buyers a motivational incentive to purchase music instead of obtaining via peer-to-peer acquisitions. This keen insight into marketing by Apple, reverse the contempt that the music labels were showing toward their customers. Unfortunately, I think the publishers have even more contempt and are more draconian in their approached to digital distribution. First, publishers will realize considerable cost savings through digital distribution and be able to reach new marketplaces, new geographic locals, new target and niche markets (if the case maybe) than ever before. The savings one-click buy and download represent need to be passed along to the consumer but INSTEAD, out of complete derision they want to slap the buyer and charge higher subscription prices than their average paper and ink subscribers are paying. This makes absolutely no business sense and can only be accounted for by backward thinking and retrograde attitudes emerging out of a fear of change.

Posted by: RichardPrince | February 15, 2011 2:15 PM | Report abuse

As an Apple fan I had planned to buy a second generation iPad, which would be more portable than my 17" MacBook Pro. But I find the Apple subscription tax a serious abuse of Apple's (current) monopoly share of tablet devices. A 30% tax on an iPad app subscription, forced to be equal to a tax-free browser subscription, is unconscionable. My NY Times subscription on Adobe's AirReader has no "tax" for Apple or Adobe; the subscription money goes to the NY Times, which I prefer to hopefully keep the NY Times alive and well.

Apple does nothing to create the subscription content and is taking a big skim just for the opportunity it makes available. Seems similar to the ISPs lusting after a piece of Google's revenue, claiming Google couldn't make the money without their ISPs - another abuse of a monopoly market.

I will wait and see how this fight shapes up and, meanwhile, learn more about alternative tablets.

Posted by: RCharles1 | February 16, 2011 7:16 AM | Report abuse

What - everyone didn't see this one coming? Apple wants to become the central hub for all media as best it can - this was a given eventuality.

And taking 30% for a subscription generated in your subscription store isn't money for nothing (who built the store?) - and not that surprising. It was the letting publisher's keep 100% and not even trying to take 1 or 2% that surprised me.

Posted by: Craightond | February 16, 2011 8:16 AM | Report abuse

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