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While many are eagerly waiting for Apple to announce a subscription offering for its music and video content, the company is apparently looking to offer newspaper subscriptions first, the San Jose Mercury News reports.
The news, which is still unconfirmed by Apple, makes sense considering the iPad’s skyrocketing sales (it sold over 3 million units as of July). Newspaper companies are desperate for a new way to bring in revenue, as print subscriptions and ad revenues are on the decline. The iPad, and eventually other tablets, would offer newspapers a fresh new digital form factor, as well as a completely new way for consumers to purchase them.
Roger Fidler, head of digital publishing at Donald W. Reynolds Journalism Institute in Columbia, Mo., told the San Jose Mercury News that Apple would likely take a 30 percent cut from newspaper app purchases (the same as its current cut for movies and music), and may take up to a 40 percent chunk from newspaper app ad revenues.
Apple has also apparently agreed to allow an opt-in function for subscribers to share their data with newspapers. It would give the publications valuable insight into their readers, and they can also use that data to attract advertisers.
Fidler says that publishers would rather pay a fee to Apple than give it a cut of their ad and sales revenues. With this arrangement, Apple is a key part of the publications’ relationship with their subscribers. That’s something music labels and movie studios have gotten used to when it comes to selling their wares on iTunes, but it’s certainly a new step for newspapers.
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