With 50% opt-in rate, publishers are signing up for iPad subscriptions

Thu, May 12, 2011


Over the past few weeks, we’ve seen an influx of big name publishers sign up for Apple’s semi-controversial in-app subscription system. While much of the public controversy centered on Apple taking a 30% cut of all new subscriptions, the real reasons publishers were wary was that they’d only have access to important customer information if users chose to opt-in and actively choose to share their demographic info with publishers.

In a span of a few days however, we’ve seen both Conde Naste and Hearst Publishing get on board with iPad magazine subscriptions. Together, the aforementioned publishing houses are responsible for some of the biggest magazines out on the market, including Wired, Golf Digest, Vanity Fair, GQ, Cosmopolitan, Esquire, and Popular Mechanics.

So what happened? Why are big time publishers now signing up for Apple’s subscription rules all of a sudden?

Well as it turns out, it turns out that consumers who purchase iPad subscriptions are a lot more willing to share their personal information than publishers initially gave them credit for. When first signing up for a new subscription, a dialogue box appears asking users if they’d be okay with Apple sharing their information with publishers and 50% of consumers are reportedly saying yes.

Upon first hearing of the 50% figure, Mark Edmiston – the man behind the magazine studio Nomad Editions – couldn’t believe it. So he ran the figure by Apple VP Eddy Cue who confirmed that the stat was indeed accurate.

“So, all the sudden,” Edmiston said, “what was an insurmountable obstacle no longer is.”

Jeff Bercovici writes for Forbes:

To me, this makes a real statement about how much trust Apple customers place in the company’s ability to create user experiences that are safe and enjoyable. Can you imagine 50 percent of people opting in to anything out there on the open Web? No chance. But within the carefully manicured, curated confines of the App Store, it’s a different matter. That Steve Jobs just might be onto something.

Well said. While many point to Apple’s closed garden as a negative, it is in many ways a net positive. Earlier this week we pointed out how Apple was able to roll out a bug fix for its location tracking bug to millions of iOS users while the majority of Android users aren’t up to speed on the latest Android update. Similarly, Apple’s closed system potentially creates a feeling of comfort and safety that makes people more willing to divulge their information to third party publishers



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