Hearst publishing strikes deal to issue Magazine iPad subscriptions via iTunes

Thu, May 5, 2011


The Hearst Corporation, which publishes newspapers and popular magazines like Cosmopolitan and O, The Oprah Magazine, recently struck a deal with Apple whereby it will provide its content to iPad users via in app subscriptions.

Right of the gate, only three of Hearst’s magazine properties will be available on the iPad, but they’re all big time hitters – Esquire, Popular Mechanics, and O, The Oprah magazine. Issues will become available starting in July.

Each monthly issue will be priced at $1.99, though users opting for a year long subscription can save about $4 and only have to fork over $19.99. Whereas users had to previously download individual issues, Apple’s in-app subscription mechanism will deliver new issues to a user’s iPad automatically.

Hearst is only one of a few publishers to make use of Apple’s new and controversial iTunes subscription service which nets Apple 30% of all new subscribers who sign up for subscriptions. Publishers have of course been apprehensive to sign up for Apple’s new terms because a) they’re not keen on giving up that 30% cut, and more importantly b) customer information is only available to them on an opt-in basis. This has been a key sticking point for a number of publishers who rely heavily on demographic information for both marketing and advertising purposes.

As for the information sharing, publishers say they rely on knowing some basics about readers to court advertisers and market their other products to consumers. But publishing executives say they are more confident they will be able to work within Apple’s guidelines to find out who their iPad readers are.

That said, Hearst told the WSJ that their deal with Apple was the result of months of negotiations and that both parties were ultimately happy with the deal. “We came to a fair and equitable deal,” a spokeswoman explained.

The latest deal marks yet another victory in Apple’s efforts to attract big name publishesr to the iPad. Earlier this week, Apple and Time Inc. struck a deal that enables print subscribers to Time-owned magazines like Sports Illustrated and Fortune to subscribe to theĀ iPad versions for free.


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