Last year, when the iPad launched, everyone was praising Apple as the saviour of the publishing industry. Well, that was until, being Apple, they announced that they would be charging 30% of every purchase of a newspaper, ebook, magazine or subscription on an iPad and they would not share subscriber data with publishers. Not surprisingly, this sparked a significant backlash – the 30% was higher than the profit margin that many publishers made from their products and it drove a few ebook stores out of business, or at least off the iPad. It has also created huge difficulties for publishers in transferring subscribers to their iPads apps, meaning that, for instance, my New Yorker subscription is currently worthless as far as my iPad is concerned, meaning that I am required to pay $6 per issue if I want it on my iPad, even though the print version will arrive in my mailbox a few days later.
Luckily, it looks like the publishing industry Is fighting back. Hopefully, this will force Apple to re-think their ridiculous policy, otherwise the iPad will simply not be able to live-up to it’s full potential, since publishers won’t allow their products on it.
The app is downloaded from a web browser – side-stepping Apple’s rigid controls on crucial subscriber information as well as its hefty 30 per cent commission.
…The FT’s chief executive, John Ridding, said: ”This is not about Apple. It’s about our readers and making sure they have a consistent experience.”
The pricing in News Ltd’s recently announced pay wall will favour its website over apps sold through Apple’s iTunes, which takes $2.70 a month from every subscription to The Australian app, leaving just $6.29 for the company that makes it.
News said app subscriptions ”will not give full access” to the new web and mobile sites, while those who paid News directly would. Given the price for each will be similar, readers will get more if they pay News instead of Apple.
UPDATE: It seems Apple have already caved. Serves me right for trusting Fairfax for up-to-date news, no wonder they’re going under…
An Apple spokesman confirmed today that the company revised its policies, loosening the rule requiring media app developers to only offer content for purchase through iTunes. Also, Apple dropped language that required media companies to offer paid content on the same or better terms than what they offer elsewhere.
The changes come as media owners resist the restrictions posed by Apple’s guidelines and some, like Pearson’s Financial Times, have experimented with ways to get around the guidelines but still make their content available on Apple’s popular devices.
Thanks News Ltd for giving today’s news, I will now buy your product and not Fairfax’s. Isn’t capitalism a beautiful thing?