Apple’s plans for a Digital Newsstand encounter publisher resistance

Mon, Sep 20, 2010


Hot on the heels of a report that Apple is prepping a new iPad subscription plan for newspapers comes word via Bloomberg that Apple is working to develop a digital newsstand for publishers that would allow them to sell both newspapers and magazines to consumers.

The newsstand, which may launch in a couple of months, is described as being similar to the iBook store for e-books and would be a wholly separate entity from Apple’s app store. But as you might expect, there are hangups and reservations centering on how that subscription money will be divvied up. Earlier reports suggested that Apple was aiming for 30% of all subscription revenue along with 40% of all mobile ad revenue. Another cause for concern, from the publishing side of things, is that publishers “prefer to control subscriber data and revenue.”

Also an issue is how Apple will manage subscriber information, and whether or not those details will be made available to various publications. To that end,┬áTime Warner’s magazine division is reportedly reluctant to sign on the dotted line out of fears that a digital newsstand might “sever ties between the publisher and its customers.”

All in all, it appears that Apple’s publishing push with the iPad is encountering some stiff resistance from companies who, while wanting to join the digital revolution, are understandably hesitant about blindly agreeing to Apple’s terms.

Still, Apple is pushing ahead with technology to help ease companies into the world of iPad publishing if and when they come around.

To support the online newsstand, Apple is developing software to make it easier and cheaper to create digital versions of magazines and newspapers, with extras such as high- resolution videos integrated with stories, one person said. By offering tools to simplify the process, the company aims to attract publishers to the storefront, the person said.


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