Hearst inks deal with Apple for iPad magazine subscriptions

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Publishing giant Hearst Corp. will begin offering premium subscriptions to the iPad editions of monthly titles including Esquire, Popular Mechanics and O, The Oprah Magazine, becoming the first major publisher to partner with Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) to sell subscriptions via the iTunes platform. Beginning with the July issues of all three magazines, Hearst will offer iPad subscriptions priced at $1.99 per month or $19.99 a year.

Hearst - Popular Mechanics for iPad

Popular Mechanics and other Hearst titles will be available for subscription on the iPad in July.

Hearst's announcement follows roughly three months after Apple introduced a new subscription platform for all content-based applications in its App Store storefront that awards the computing giant 30 percent of subscription revenues as well as ownership of consumer data like names and email addresses. Many publishers express serious reservations over the terms of the service and few have consented to the arrangement, meaning they must instead sell iPad editions one issue at a time--a major stumbling block for titles that publish on a daily or weekly basis.

Hearst did not release details of its agreement with Apple, but said it is comfortable with the cut Apple claims as well as the depth of consumer data it can now access. "It's an equitable and fair deal for both sides," a Hearst spokesperson told The Financial Times. "There was a lot of back and forth, and we feel it's a fair agreement in terms of sharing the data and ­owning the customers together." Hearst added it plans to offer subscription-based apps to its newspaper properties and other content.

The Hearst deal follows days after Time Inc., the nation's largest magazine publisher, reached an agreement with Apple to offer its iPad editions for free to print subscribers. IPad app editions of Sports Illustrated, Time and Fortune will authenticate print subscribers, giving them free access to digital content--Time's People magazine already offered such an arrangement, but other publications demanded print subscribers pay separately for the iPad version. Time has not yet agreed to sell premium iTunes subscriptions, however.

For more:
- read this Financial Times article

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