Red Ink: Newspapers, Magazines Leery Of Conditions To Be iPad Content Providers

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Turns out there's a reason a lot of print media companies haven't been jumping on the iPad content-provider bandwagon.

Revenue sharing is at the heart of the problem, but it goes much further than just the dollar split between Apple and, say, a TIME or ROLLING STONE magazine.  The House of Jobs has a history of sharing little more than sales volume with its partners.  Periodical print media, on the other hand, has long collected a wealth of subscriber data (names, locations, credit card numbers, etc.) that not only influence marketing plans, but sometimes shape the content of the publication itself.  Said one major US newspaper executive, "Is it a dealbreaker? It's pretty damn close." 

The revenue split itself is a bone of contention.  Apple's deal with book publishers is a 70/30 split in the publishers' favor – the same split established with iTunes and App Store content, and one which Apple brags encourages the economic feasability of US$0.99 songs and iPhone programs.  But these are per-unit percentages, as opposed to a subscription that could continue for years — and the newspaper and magazine houses are balking at giving up 30% of an open-ended revenue stream.

That hasn't stopped the New York Times or Condé Nast; as we've previously reported, CN's Wired became the first major magazine to sign up as an iPad content provider, and now it appears that electronic versions of their GQ and Vanity Fair are also in the pipeline.

[Via the Financial Times]

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