updated 08:30 pm EST, Thu December 1, 2011
Surprised that readers willingly share data
One of the main sticking points in the fight between magazine publishers and Apple in getting magazines into the iTunes eco-system -- Apple's unwillingness to share subscriber data with publishers -- has turned out to largely be a non-issue, Hearst Magazine president David Carey admitted in an interview with Reuters. Describing the negotiations last spring as being filled with "so much drama," he now praises the iPad.
Hearst and Carey were surprised to discover that between 60 and 65 percent of subscribers choose to share their data voluntarily with publishers. Apple agreed to allow publishers to ask for reader data directly from readers on an "opt in" as part of the deal that brought Hearst and other reluctant publishers on board.
Carey also admitted that Apple's cut of subscription sales (30 percent) was actually considerably less than what publishers normally pay distributors of newsstand copies (about 45 percent). The company has brought some of its most popular magazines to iTunes, including Esquire, Popular Mechanics and O, the Oprah Magazine.
Hearst reported in late September that subscriptions had topped 300,000 across all tablets (with nearly all belonging to the iPad). Since the introduction of Newsstand in October subscriptions have risen 25 percent, and now top 400,000 across all tablets.