Thursday, February 18, 2010

The iPad business model for news: Strategies publishers must embrace

There’s been a lot of hand-wringing in the journosphere about what newspapers ought to be doing vis-a-vis the iPad. If publishers adopt their usual defensive stance and take a slow approach, they’ll miss the iPad boat. Or the iPad rocketship, as the case may be.

Kenneth Li of the Financial Times reports that “Newspaper and magazine publishers are stumbling over key issues such as sharing subscription revenues as they consider deals to offer digital versions of their products on Apple’s upcoming iPad digital media device.” Apple’s 30 percent take of any subscription revenue is a far better deal than the 70 percent many publishers forked over to Amazon to be on the Kindle, but some publishers are balking at Apple’s deal. “Thirty percent forever changes the economics,” one newspaper exec complaned to Li. “You can imagine we feel less good about it.”

In addition to the revenue share, publishers are kvetching about control of information. Apple intends to hold on to customer data, as it does with iTunes, and to share only sales volume with publishers. One unnamed metro newspaper publisher told Li: “Is it a dealbreaker? It’s pretty damn close.” Magazine publishers, despite some similar concerns, have already formed a consortium (Next Issue Media) to publish their content on the iPad, and Condé Nast has begun announcing titles that will appear on the device.

Continue reading this post at Nieman Journalism Lab.

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