updated 09:50 am EST, Tue February 15, 2011
Newspapers, music, video, other media supported
Apple today officially announced the introduction of App Store subscriptions for apps beyond News Corp.'s The Daily. Rather than being limited to just magazines and newspapers, essentially any form of content can be delivered via subscription, including music and video. The scheme is being handled through the normal App Store billing system, but with some key differences.
Publishers set the price and duration of subscriptions, which can run weekly, monthly, bi-monthly, quarterly, bi-annually or annually. Customers in turn have the ability to keep track of subscriptions on their account pages, where they can cancel automatic renewals as necessary. The revenue split between Apple and publishers is somewhat different.
"Our philosophy is simple -- when Apple brings a new subscriber to the app, Apple earns a 30 percent share; when the publisher brings an existing or new subscriber to the app, the publisher keeps 100 percent and Apple earns nothing," reads a prepared statement from Apple CEO Steve Jobs. "All we require is that, if a publisher is making a subscription offer outside of the app, the same (or better) offer be made inside the app, so that customers can easily subscribe with one-click right in the app."
The division reflects a policy more tolerant than expected for outside subscriptions. In addition to allowing publishers a 100 percent take on revenue from web portals, Apple is once again permitting free in-app subscriptions for people with existing paper ones. The company recently cracked down on European newspapers offering the workaround before any form of in-app subscription support was available. Some catches still exist, as Apple is banning in-app links to outside portals, strictly enforcing the mirrored options rule.