Hearst in iPad deal with Apple

Publisher Hearst has agreed to selling subscriptions to their iPad magazines through iTunes, after months of negotiations with Apple, reports The Wall Street Journal.

Starting with their July issues, iPad apps for Esquire, Popular Mechanics and O, The Oprah Magazine, will be available through a service from Apple that allows customers to sign up for subscriptions inside the apps and get billed automatically. Subscriptions to all three publications will be sold for $1.99 a month or $19.99 a year.

Hearst has also confirmed plans to eventually begin selling newspaper apps (perhaps The San Francisco Chronicle and Houston Chronicle?) and other content through in-app subscriptions. The news leaves Condé Nast as the only major magazine publisher out there not participating in Apple’s new iOS subscription service. However, it’s only a matter of time before Condé Nast joins other big publishers. Last week, Time Inc. reached a deal with Apple enabling them to offer print subscribers digital magazine subscriptions at no additional cost.

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After the initial back and forth, publishers had no other choice but to reluctantly switch from exclusively selling iPad subscriptions on their sites to offering the same deal through in-app subscriptions. New rules require publishers to match subscriptions sold through their apps to prices elsewhere, like on their website.

Furthermore, they must not provide links inside apps that lead to external subscription offerings. Apple takes its 30 percent cut for all in-app subscriptions and it doesn’t allow publishers to access subscribers’ personal information for marketing and advertising purposes.

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