Apple Unveils Subscription Service for Digital Content Publishers

On Tuesday, Apple published details relating to its new App Store subscription services. The new policy outlines precisely how content publisher may provide subscription-based magazines, newspapers, videos, etc. through the App Store. As widely anticipated ahead of the policy’s publication, publishers of content-based applications can offer recurring billing. However, they are strictly prohibited from including …   Read More

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On Tuesday, Apple published details relating to its new App Store subscription services. The new policy outlines precisely how content publisher may provide subscription-based magazines, newspapers, videos, etc. through the App Store.

As widely anticipated ahead of the policy’s publication, publishers of content-based applications can offer recurring billing. However, they are strictly prohibited from including external links to websites where the content subscriptions are similarly available.

Apple is requiring that all subscription payments go through the App Store’s new recurring billing option. The process secures a 30% share of the subscription cost for Apple, but only when Apple generates the new subscription.

“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,” said Apple Chief Executive 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. 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.”

Protecting customer privacy, Apple notes, remains of vital importance to the company – a situation that has proven a headache to publishers eager to get their hands on highly valuable personal subscriber data.

Apple, however, is meeting publishers half-way in this matter. That is, customers purchasing a subscription through the App Store will be given the option of providing the publisher with their name, email address and zip code when they subscribe. “The use of such information will be governed by the publisher’s privacy policy rather than Apple’s,” the Cupertino, California-based tech giant announced. “Publishers may seek additional information from App Store customers provided those customers are given a clear choice, and are informed that any additional information will be handled under the publisher’s privacy policy rather than Apple’s.”

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