Is an iPad Newspaper Subscription in the Works?

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Could an App Store-like arrangement rescue newspapers seeking to use the iPad to prop up dwindling print revenue? That’s the question as a new rumor floats across the radar, suggesting Apple will provide newspapers access to demographic data in exchange for a cut of digital subscription sales.

Apple has agreed to allow subscribers share their personal data with newspapers, demographic information that can be a treasure for publications looking to lure advertisers. Previously, Apple had balked at sharing such data, wanting to provide only sales volume.

In August Apple relented to publishers’ demands for in-app subscriptions. However, this latest news means the Cupertino, Calif. company is also allowing subscription sales via the popular App Store. That concession could come at a high price, though.

Apple could take a 30 percent cut of all subscriptions sold through the App Store, along with up to 40 percent of advertising revenue from the publishers’ apps, Roger Fidler, digital publishing chief at the Donald W. Reynolds Journalism Institute, told the San Jose Mercury News. Newspapers are wary of Apple becoming a middle-man, Fidler said. Publications preferred to offer the app as part of a subscription to their papers’ print versions. “Instead, they must use Apple as an intermediary with subscribers,” he said.

[AppleInsider, Mercury News]