Have Apple and Time Kissed and Made Up?
Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) has reached an agreement with Time (NYSE:TWX) to start selling magazine subscriptions through the former’s Newsstand app, ending their previous bitter disagreement. Despite being something of a digital pioneer with its publications, Time, until now, only sold the app version of single issues of its magazines through Apple. The largest magazine publisher in the country had been one of the biggest critics of Apple’s commission policy and restrictions on access to user data, refusing to follow competitors like Condé Nast and Hearst into selling subscriptions through the iPad maker.
However, Apple has eased some of its restrictions in the face of competition from Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) and Google (NASDAQ:GOOG). This latest agreement — the financial terms of which were not disclosed — will allow readers to subscribe to 20 Time magazines, including People, Sports Illustrated, InStyle, and Entertainment Weekly.
The deal was the first priority of Time new chief executive Laura Lang, who took over in January. “For a magazine or brand like People or Time, a tablet will become an increasingly important part of the experience,” Lang told New York Times. “Our goal is to offer content where our consumers want to read it.”
Several publishers had criticized Apple last year for not releasing newsstand subscriber data, an important metric used to customize ads. Apple has apparently now offered readers the ability to “opt in” on sharing data with publishers. Apple also demanded a 30 percent commission for magazine subscriptions bought through its App Store.
The Apple newsstand sells more than 5,000 magazines and newspapers, with the majority of the more than five million newsstand customers buying subscriptions rather than single issues, according to Eddy Cue, Apple’s senior vice president for Internet software and services.
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