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Apple Hits News Media

Posted by Andrew at 2:16 PM on January 17, 2011

There’s a story over at The Register covering an article in a Belgian newspaper, De Tijd, which suggests that Apple is determined to get its money from the media companies, one way or another. Basically, those media companies that offer a free app to subscribers of their print editions are going to be forced to discontinue the practice and that all subscriptions must go through Apple’s iTunes, where Apple can collect its 30%.

The story quotes two people, William De Nolf, Director of New Media at Roularta and Gert Ysebaert, of publishing house Corelio, who complain about Apple’s tactics.

De Nolf says, “We are working on the launch of the iPad selling subscriptions through our own web service, but Apple is now demanding that the sale is through iTunes…Today, paper subscribers get free access to the iPad version, but Apple has put a stop to it.”

Ysebaert complains, “[Going through iTunes], the newspaper loses the direct relationship with its customers. We should know who buys our publications, not Apple…Apple is changing the rules while the game is in progress. ”

As far as The Register can tell, this only seems to be affecting Belgian media but there’s the obvious implication that it will eventually reach other countries such as the UK and US. It may already have but no-one has yet spoken out.

The Register also thinks that it might have something to do with Apple’s link-up to Murdoch’s News Corporation and the launch of The Daily, a subscription-based news service but clearly that’s speculation.

Regardless of the latter, Apple seems hell-bent on controlling every aspect of application and media delivery to its devices and ensuring that it gets its money from the content creators as well as the application developers.

Translations courtesy of Google Translate and some paraphrasing by me.

2 Comments

  1. From John Knights at 3:02 pm on January 17, 2011

    Well if they sell their publications as print then they have a lot less potential to make money as the distributors and retailers take their cut. The publishers receiving 70% is a lot better than they’d get elsewhere – and they would never sell the kind of numbers that they could via iTunes without integrating with Apple’s distribution model and lets not forget – they look after all the marketing and distribution – so what’s the problem, really?

    I don’t think News Corp. have any say in this matter but Apple have realised that this is the best model and if one publication is sold this way then they should all be.

    Sure, the end users could go to multiple sources for each of their publications but why would we do that? We have visited the shop that sells magazines and newspapers to buy such things so why make it more difficult?

    Apple are the only people who are forward thinking in all of this and to be honest I would reverse the argument and say it is the media people who want everything their own way and are greedy.

    If they want the demographic data for their publications then talk to Apple about that.

  2. From Andrew at 6:51 am on January 18, 2011

    Couple of points…to say that Apple has discovered the best model in a market that’s less than a year old, seems premature. Might be the best model for Apple, not for everyone else.

    Second, why not be competitive? Apple could offer a purchase and distribution service for the which they charge 30%. Companies that wish to build their own infrastructure can do so. It will then be down to the business of 30% v. cost of infrastructure.

    Finally, as a consumer I don’t find it hard to purchase from multiple sources – Amazon, Play.com, ebay – and I get the benefit of competition. It’s not difficult at all. So I can’t see that I would have any problem purchasing apps or media for my iPad from multiple sources. Again the only person who really benefits is Apple.