Subscriptions - anyone have a clue as to how this works?

Discussion in 'iPad' started by vini-vidi-vici, Feb 15, 2011.

  1. vini-vidi-vici macrumors 6502

    Jan 7, 2010
    From what I've read, everyone seems to be drawing their own conclusions as to how subscriptions are intended to work. The press release simply isn’t specific enough, and needs further explanation.

    Let’s take an example – The New Yorker.

    Presently, there is no way get a subscription via iTunes for this. You have to buy each issue at what amounts to a newsstand price. If you already have a subscription to The New Yorker, it makes no sense to re-buy the same content on iTunes. People are complaining about this very thing – loudly!

    My read of the press release is that the new paradigm is this:

    If The New Yorker offers a digital subscription at say $10/year and signs-up new subscribers via its own web site, they can do this, and Apple will see $0 from these subscriptions. The user can still download new content via the app...

    However, in order to have this capability, The New Yorker must offer the same subscription price via iTunes - $10/year. If someone buys a subscription directly via iTunes, The New Yorker would only get $7 of that revenue. Apple would get $3. Naturally, The New Yorker would rather people sign up directly from The New Yorker. But, $7 is better than nothing…

    Question 1: If someone signs up for a new subscription via The New Yorker’s website, how will iTunes “know the subscription is valid”? Do they get some sort of secret code to enter into iTunes to download the content? This is a pretty important piece of the puzzle. Or, will new content be downloaded directly from The New Yorker? How do you get that into the app then? Do they get a special login from The New Yorker? In that case, how are follow-on subscriptions handled?

    Question 2: If in addition to the “digital only” subscription, The New Yorker decides to give all current paper subscribers access to the digital version – included with their paper subscription at no additional charge – how would this work? What “equivalent” subscription could they offer in iTunes? They can’t offer a paper subscription in iTunes…

    What people want is a solution/answer to question #2. They don’t want to re-pay for content… and many of them aren’t quite ready to make the leap from 100% paper to 100% digital. There are advantages to either medium (that's another thread). How does this new model address this problem? I have absolutely no idea from reading the press release. It’s just too vague.
  2. quetzalcoatl macrumors member

    Jan 7, 2011
    Nobody knows how #1 will be handled it will be up to the content providers.

    But I think what you have suggested is reasonable.

    But the followup scriptions is really the sticking point to me. Because of the way the press release is written anything purchased through the app apple considers that they brought that person to the publication. So they take the 30% when in reality that is not the case. And they make it to where more people than not will buy thorugh the app because that is the only way to do so within the app. And I think we all know that is the intent of not allowing you to link to the site within the app. They want you to have to think about it and most will take the easy way out which will give apple the share.
  3. vini-vidi-vici thread starter macrumors 6502

    Jan 7, 2010
    I hadn't seen that quote - thanks... I guess they'll figure it out then. As for re-subscriptions, you may be right that people will be more inclined to subscribe via the app. But, if they're using their iDevice, and using the app, I think the publisher owes something to Apple for providing their reader with such a good experience that they want to resubscribe - and making the re-subscription process so simple that readers are more likely to do it. If re-subscription rates via an iDevice turn out to be >30% greater than via traditional means (i.e. sending a publisher a check), publishers ought to be gleeful.

    I still want to see a solution for #2. How does it work when the publisher wants to bundle an e-subscription with some other product. I'm sure they will want to do this... Hmmmm... Here's one idea:

    Let's say you buy a traditional New Yorker subscription for $X. With this, you get a $10 coupon for a e-subscription purchasable at This subscription is available separately for $10 if you like. With the coupon, it becomes free. This way, the two items aren't 'bundled'. If someone wants to buy it over the app store, there is no coupon available, and they pay the $10. If someone wants to re-subscribe to the New Yorker, and still wants a paper subscription, they'd be more inclined to use their coupon again the next year - and subscribe via

    Not sure if this would violate the letter or spirit of the Apple policy, but it seems to be one way around it for publishers who want to do some kind of promotion or bundle. If Apple does allow this sort of thing, it could be abused to essentially jack-up the real cost of the iTunes subscription... I just don't know how this might work.

    Anyway, I think Apple needs to address this issue. I see it as a key component to getting people to make the transition to digital media.

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