Apple unveils iPhone, iPad subscription policy
Published : Feb 16, 2011 - 11:42
Updated : Feb 16, 2011 - 11:42

A Verizon Wireless employee helps a new iPhone user in New York, Thursday, Feb. 10, 2011. (AP-Yonhap News)
NEW YORK (AP) _ Apple Inc. announced a subscription system for buying newspapers and magazines on iPhone and iPad applications on Tuesday, making it easier for publishers to mine the popular mobile devices for more revenue.

The update announced Tuesday enables publishers to sell subscriptions by the week, month, year or other period of time, instead of asking readers to buy each issue separately.

The added convenience promises to help publishers sell more digital copies as they look to smart phones and tablet computers to replace some of the revenue that has disappeared over the past few years as readers and advertisers migrated from print editions.

But publishers won't be allowed to automatically collect personal information about people who buy subscriptions through the Apple apps. That data is prized by publishers because they use it for marketing purposes.

Instead, subscribers who sign up through an app on an Apple device will be given the option to share their information with publishers, a choice most people don't make. If people don't share their information with publishers, Apple will still hold onto it, though it will not pass it on to the publishers or other third parties.

Time Inc., whose magazines include Sports Illustrated, People and Time, applauded Apple for allowing publishers to sell app subscriptions, but said it still has questions about access to customer information. Sports Illustrated, for one, already has worked out deals to sell subscriptions with access to customer data on computer tablets running on software made by Apple rivals Google Inc. and Hewlett-Packard Co.

Apple will take its standard 30 percent cut from all app and content sales made in its iTunes store, which peddles a variety of music, movies, games and e-books. This new subscription system also applies to video and music services _ for instance, the app for Netflix.

Content providers that don't want to automatically give Apple a slice of the revenue can try to sell subscriptions outside the app, too. One way to do that would be through the Web browser, although that might prove too much of a hassle for people already used to buying apps, music and other things on iTunes.

Apple is insisting the financial terms of the digital subscriptions sold outside the app be no better than those offered in the iTunes store. And people must have the option to buy subscriptions within iTunes, if they want.

``We believe that this innovative subscription service will provide publishers with a brand new opportunity to expand digital access to their content onto the iPad, iPod touch and iPhone, delighting both new and existing subscribers,'' Apple CEO Steve Jobs said in a statement. Jobs, a cancer survivor, is on medical leave but continues to serve as chief executive.

Apple's new subscription policy follows News Corp.'s launch of the first iPad-only newspaper, The Daily, earlier this month. Its subscribers are charged through iTunes, making it the first iPad app to take advantage of this subscription feature.

More newspapers are focusing on digital devices because their biggest source of revenue, print advertising, has plunged during the past four years. Digital advertising has been steadily rising, but those increases have only made up for a fraction of the losses on the print side.

Subscriptions to print editions also have been dropping in recent years as more people turned to the Web to get news and other information for free.

In stark contrast to publishers, Apple has been thriving. The company, based in Cupertino, California, generates more than $65 billion in annual revenue and boasts a market value of $330 billion _ second only to Exxon Mobil Corp. among U.S. companies. 

Apple now sees an opportunity to get even richer from these so-called in-app purchases. As part of its effort to ensure it gets a cut, Apple recently rejected Sony Corp.'s e-book reader app for the iPhone because it doesn't give people the chance to buy books without leaving the app for a website.

By insisting on an in-app purchase option, Apple believes it is making sure people using its gadgets get a familiar experience every time they buy something _ a new level of a video game or a new issue of a magazine _ through an app. Until recently, Apple has not enforced this rule universally.

<관련 기사>

美애플 앱스토어로 신문 정기구독 된다

(뉴욕.워싱턴 AP.AFP=연합뉴스) 미국 애플사(社)는 자사 앱스토어를 통해  신문이나 잡지 등의 콘텐츠를 정기적으로 구매할 수 있는 과금 체제를 제공한다고 15일(현지시각) 발표했다.

'아이폰'이나 '아이패드' 이용자는 이에 따라 '앱' 형태의 신문 혹은 잡지를 볼

때 예전처럼 매번 요금을 지불하는 대신 종이 신문을 받아보는 것처럼 한 달이나  1년 단위로 요금을 낼 수 있게 됐다.

콘텐츠 구독자는 1주일이나 분기 또는 6개월 단위로도 요금을 낼 수 있고, 신문이나 잡지뿐 아니라 음악을 듣거나 영화를 볼 때에도 이처럼 정기적으로 이용료를 지불할 수 있다.

애플은 기존의 '앱' 판매 시와 마찬가지로 콘텐츠를 정기구독할 때도 판매 금액의 30%를 수수료로 가져갈 계획이다.

콘텐츠 구입액의 일부가 자동으로 애플 측에 분배되기를 원하지 않는 콘텐츠 제공자는 자체 웹사이트를 통해 '아이폰'이나 '아이패드' 이용자들에게 콘텐츠를 판매할 수도 있지만, 이 경우 '앱스토어'를 통해서도 동일한 콘텐츠를 구매할 수 있어야 한다고 애플은 밝혔다.

스티브 잡스 애플 최고경영자(CEO)는 성명을 통해 자사의 새로운 과금 체계가 "(콘텐츠) 발행자들에게 '아이패드'와 '아이팟 터치', '아이폰'을 통한 온라인  배급이라는 전혀 새로운 기회를 제공할 것"이라고 전망했다.

새로 도입된 애플의 정기과금 체계는 미국의 미디어기업 뉴스코퍼레이션에서 이달 초 만든 '아이패드' 전용 신문 '더 데일리'에 가장 먼저 적용될 예정이다.

뉴스코프를 비롯한 기성 매체 발행인들은 온라인 뉴스의 비중이 크게 늘면서 인터넷 광고를 통한 수입 확대를 시도해 왔으나 유료 구독자의 감소에 따른 수입 감소속도가 훨씬 빨랐던 탓에 경영난을 겪어 왔다.