Apple (AAPL) and Publishers Disagree over iPad Subscriptions

 In Apple

Time Inc. attempted to submit a subscription version of their iPad “Sports Illustrated” app to Apple’s (NASDAQ:AAPL) App Store last week. Only to have it rejected by Apple. Who, for some reason, find the idea of digital magazine subscriptions unattractive to their current business model.

Time’s reason for attempting this strategy is apparently because customers are unhappy with the $4.99 price of their iPad Magazine. Many people have left negative reviews. The main reason given is that they feel that that price for digital content is too high.

Time Inc. say they want to try and give their customers what they want. Albeit in a round about way. Instead of just dropping the price of each issue, they want to tie people up to a reduction in price as part of a subscription deal.

The publisher argues that this is how it works in the publishing industry. Their view seems somewhat blinkered, and somewhat reminiscent of how the record companies sounded back in the early iTunes years. Is it really that hard to drop the price of the magazine a dollar?

I suspect for the magazines it has just as much to do with collecting user information, and interacting more directly with them, as it is not wanting to give in on their sticker price.

Would it be so hard for Apple to let these companies publish the way they wish? Some fear that Apple is protective of it’s analytics advantage when it controls revenues, and that they don’t want publishers to be able to collect this data independent of them.

There are other darker theories. But I suspect it is also to do with Apple not having the infrastructure setup to handle this yet. So it will come. Just not at the beck and call of Time Inc.

Do you think Apple are being awkward? Trying for world domination. Or simply overworked? Are the Publishers hoping for too much money for their digital media?


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Showing 3 comments
  • Tina

    How is it that I can have multiple magazine subscriptions through Zinio, and get the content delivered to my iPad on a weekly or monthly basis, and these publishers are getting hung up with Apple? Seems like there's something wrong here.

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