Apple Squashing iPad Magazine Subscription Plans

Discussion in ' News Discussion' started by MacRumors, Jul 28, 2010.

  1. MacRumors macrumors bot


    Apr 12, 2001


    All Things Digital reports on Time Inc.'s struggles with Apple as it has tried to roll out a true subscription program for its Sports Illustrated iPad application, an option that Apple continues to be unwilling to support.
    The reasons for Apple's reluctance are not entirely clear, although the theories are ones that have been around for some time: Apple may be concerned over subscriber information being held by the publishers rather than Apple itself, and the company may be working to retain control over and profits from magazine sales by pushing downloads through the App Store rather than through publishers.

    As the report notes, other entities such as The Wall Street Journal are permitted to bill users directly for iPad subscriptions to their content, and thus it is unclear exactly why Apple is targeting magazine subscriptions so closely. But until the stalemate is broken to allow publishers to offer subscription packages or print-electroinic bundles in some way as most parties seems to desire, it appears that magazine users will be limited to the single-issue purchases prevalent in the App Store today.

    Article Link: Apple Squashing iPad Magazine Subscription Plans
  2. Bubba Satori Suspended

    Bubba Satori

    Feb 15, 2008
  3. muchadoaboutnot macrumors member

    Jul 27, 2010
    Apple is going to work in recurring billing into iTunes and will take a cut of every subscription. The motive is obvious.

    As far as the WSJ being able to bill directly and have a subscription app, magazines are new and the WSJ app has been approved. Who is to say that Apple won't force them to follow the same rules that they're putting on magazines?
  4. atomicbatteries macrumors 6502

    Jan 31, 2010
    I'll tell you one thing I am sick and tired of paying $5.00 an issue for SI or Time and apple is just being ridicules. they should pull the magazines from itunes cause people are fed up with the lack of an annual subscription.

    What is wrong with you all, just greedy little pigs!
  5. JPark macrumors 6502a

    Jun 5, 2006
    It's a little suspicious considering the ties Apple has to Disney and Disney to ESPN. Sports Illustrated is likely ESPN's biggest competitor.
  6. daddywags214 macrumors regular

    Sep 26, 2006
    Vancouver, BC
    I know people are going to freak out about Apple being "draconian" and "money-grubbing" but I see this as a legitimate debate because Apple is, in effect, becoming the publisher of the iPad edition of SI or whatever other magazines. Therefore, they have a right to claim money that would otherwise go to the (print) publisher. I'm sure they'll work out a deal -- we'll just have to be patient.
  7. SpamJunkie macrumors regular

    Jun 3, 2003
    The magazines don't want to use apple's in-app purchases to sell the upgrades, and Apple doesn't want some hokey (and potentially confusing) payment system.

    As for the 30% cut, I really don't think Apple cares about it. It's just to cover costs. They make their money on the devices and the App store is just to sell more of those.
  8. tdmac macrumors 6502

    Feb 9, 2008
    Don't get why this can't be accomplished with in-app purchasing.
  9. muchadoaboutnot macrumors member

    Jul 27, 2010
    Apple likes end to end integration, especially when it not only reduces confusion for users, but makes them money.

    They're going to mandate subscription billing goes through iTunes.

    Apple would be insane not to work on this right now. Subscriptions are big money and are very consistent. There are a lot of benefits to mandating Apple has some degree of control over subscription signup:
    • Apple can create a consistent, convenient interface that's consistent for every magazine.
    • Since the credit card is tied to the iTunes account consumers are always ready to make purchases, and they already trusted Apple enough to give it (and, for the majority, to buy something). They also get a cut.
    • All sorts of things that could make people upset regarding funky billing or not being able to cancel get put in Apple's lap. Subscriptions under your account in iTunes.
    • They can mandate a standard way to put out subscriptions, and that'll probably use an API that will allow the iPad to get pushed the magazines automatically.
  10. Small White Car macrumors G4

    Small White Car

    Aug 29, 2006
    Washington DC

    Apple, you don't have to do everything, you know. Trying to be the only publisher, distributer, profiter, etc is not the way to go. It's ok to allow other companies to make some money out of the iOS ecosystem. It'll be better for you in the long run if you do.
  11. Bubba Satori Suspended

    Bubba Satori

    Feb 15, 2008

    My computer and monitor are "publishers"? :confused:
    That's a bit of a stretch.
  12. ValSalva macrumors 68040


    Jun 26, 2009
    Burpelson AFB
    Probably specific to Sports Illustrated. Maybe those painted on bikinis in the swimsuit issue are an affront to Apple's delicate sensibilities ;)
  13. muchadoaboutnot macrumors member

    Jul 27, 2010
    Correct me if I'm wrong, but...

    When you authorize an in app purchase, you can only do it for individual items, correct? Not any sort of subscription basis?

    Although you could just allow the in app purchasing of a year or two years worth of issues, so I'll have to give you this one.
  14. Ted13 macrumors 6502

    Dec 29, 2003
    There may be a pro consumer way of reading this: what WSJ, FT, etc. have in common is a paywall that affects everyone equally.

    What Apple is trying to avoid is charging iPad users for data that non-iPad users are getting for free?
  15. Dusse macrumors regular

    Jan 6, 2009
    Give us iMagazine already.. (but give it a better name)
  16. Full of Win macrumors 68030

    Full of Win

    Nov 22, 2007
    Ask Apple
    This is an issue because of a lack of foresight from Apple. Apple so missed the boat when it did not include a Zinio type presentation with iBooks. What is the alternative publishers have? Make it in ePub and kill all the formatting and presentation.
  17. Jakkar macrumors newbie

    Jan 31, 2004
    New York City
    I use my Zinio app for the commute every day and they seem to have no problem with in app purchasing of subscriptions.
  18. cvaldes macrumors 68040

    Dec 14, 2006
    somewhere else
    What are you blathering about?

    The content publishers decide whether or not to assess a subscription fee, not Apple. If you don't want to pay the subscription fee, don't pay it.

    You are welcome to visit or for free with your phone's web browser.
  19. Popeye206 macrumors 68040


    Sep 6, 2007

    There are always two sides to a story AND Apple knows that what ever they do with new content will set the standard... so I'm sure they are very cautious not to just give away the farm since the farm they've built is worth Billions today.

    Call it Money grubbing if you want, but Time, Apple, SI all of them are in business to make money... I'm guessing Apple is trying to protect it's part of the pie. Nothing wrong with that.
  20. muchadoaboutnot macrumors member

    Jul 27, 2010
    Are the magazine sites blocking the iPad based on the user agent of mobile safari (in other words, couldn't you just avoid paying for it by visiting the magazine site? You'd miss the cool presentation, but so would anyone else enjoying the free lunch on another device.)

    I don't own an iPad, so I wouldn't know :p
  21. reubs macrumors 68000

    Jun 22, 2006
    Curse! You took my thought. With the way Apple posts sentries of decency around their walled garden, my initial thought was that this was to keep the Swimsuit Issue from showing up on the iPad.

    If that's the case, I guess something like Esquire doesn't stand a chance at all in getting a subscription model onto the iPad. Frankly, magazine subs are one of the main reasons I want an iPad. Until those are really, truly available (and not through crap like Zinio), I have a hard time shelling out the cash for an iPad.
  22. SpamJunkie macrumors regular

    Jun 3, 2003
    As an app developer, the ability to sell subscriptions would be awesome. I'd immediately start working on an MMO with subscriptions.
  23. mdude85 macrumors member

    Jun 26, 2010
    Yeah, but Apple doesn't actually make the iPad edition, they just distribute it.

    I think it will be interesting to see what happens when Apple is forced to lift some of its restrictions on 3rd party apps.
  24. binarymelon macrumors member

    Jul 27, 2007
    To be honest I'm not sure why Apple has allowed any of this in the past. Many app publishers are getting around Apple's cut for pay apps by charging subscription fees. Remember the Milk is charging $25/year to use their "free" iPhone app.
  25. muchadoaboutnot macrumors member

    Jul 27, 2010
    Ah, a very good point. Apple may want to prevent companies from pushing out content under a subscription that offends their sensibilities/App store policies (although the Wall Street Journal or other apps could do the same so it's still unusual).

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