You are cordially invited to read my previous posts on this subject (all arranged at one convenient link) on my Writers Welcome Blog for more background on this issue.
Although the New York Times and a few others have signed up for the Apple subscription plan, the Financial Times and others have stayed away…saying ‘subscriber relationships are too important to give up in return for the convenience of in-app purchases.’
That last statement refers to Apple’s refusal to give subscriber demographics to the publishers who created them in the first place! This data is crucial to publishers for follow up customer service and special deal offerings among a host of other customer relations fulfillment issues.
Financial Times not into Apple’s publishing rules
While some publishers like News Corp. and The New York Times Co. have jumped on board the digital subscription plan Apple unveiled in mid-February, others are bucking the trend, saying that subscriber relationships are too important to give up in return for the convenience of in-app purchases.
In an interview with Reuters yesterday, Rob Grimshaw, managing director of the Financial Times’ Web site, said the outlet was negotiating with Apple on a deal over its iPad subscription program. Grimshaw said that since having that user information and relationship was “at the core of our business model,” it wouldn’t make sense to give that up to Apple in return for a way to subscribe from within the app.
“If it turns out that one or another channel doesn’t mix with the way we want to do business, there’s a large number of other channels available to us,” Grimshaw told Reuters.
If a deal ends up being struck, it’s likely to send a message to other publishers that the stipulations within Apple’s new program are not set in stone.
Apple introduced its long-expected subscription program in February, offering publishers a chance to set both the price and length of subscriptions in return for Apple getting a 30 percent share. Publishers can get around the cut by bringing in existing or new subscribers from their own sites, though as part of the deal the publisher must maintain the same subscription terms and pricing elsewhere, which is problematic for publishers that want to offer special deals.
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