Apple Planning "Digital Newsstand" for iPad
Confirming what Michael Essany had reported Wednesday
, there are new indications that Apple is serious about coming up with a way of getting newspaper and other periodical content to iPad users. According to a Bloomberg story
, Apple is in negotiations with both newspaper and magazine publishers to developing what is being called a "digital newsstand" aimed at the iPad. The negotiations are said to be in the final stages and the newsstand could be up and running in a couple months, but the size of Apple's cut and control of user data are still contentious issues.
The newsstand, which would be designed specifically for the iPad, would be similar to the iBookstore, and would be focused on subscriptions rather than the sale of individual issues of magazines or newspapers. Apple is working on ways to make it easier and cheaper for publishers to create high-quality digital versions of print publications, with value-added features like HD video and interactive media. Major publishers such as Conde Nast, Hearst and News Corp. are supposedly in negotiations with Apple, with Time Warner staying out of the plans for now. The parent company of Time and Sports Illustrated magazines is said to be keeping its distance because it doesn't want Apple to be a "middleman" between the publisher and subscribers.
Publishers are in a bind, because subscriptions to their traditional print publications are falling and they want to get their titles onto the iPad. At the same time, they don't want to pay Apple what they consider exorbitant rates for access. A consultant hired by the publishers was interviewed by Bloomberg, and he says they are concerned that Apple will charge them 30% of sales, the same rate charged for music, games and other apps. The other main concern is that Apple, not the publishers, will have the names and addresses of subscribers. This is a problem that had also come up with Amazon selling subscriptions to print magazines. Ken Doctor, an analyst with Outsell Inc, remarked to Bloomberg that “the last thing these companies want is a new middleman.”
If negotiations go well, the new digital newsstand could be up in a couple of months. Bloomberg quoted an unnamed source, though, as saying that Apple may wait until the second-generation iPad is unveiled next year to announce the service.