Apple prepping newspaper subscription service?

Reports are swirling that Apple plans to announce a subscription plan for newspapers that would be available on its iPad.

Don Reisinger
CNET contributor Don Reisinger is a technology columnist who has covered everything from HDTVs to computers to Flowbee Haircut Systems. Besides his work with CNET, Don's work has been featured in a variety of other publications including PC World and a host of Ziff-Davis publications.
Don Reisinger
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Apple will soon announce a newspaper subscription service for its iPad, a recent report from the San Jose Mercury News claims.

Citing unnamed sources, the report said that Apple could take as much as 40 percent of all advertising revenue generated by the publications' iPad apps. Its sources also said that Apple will take 30 percent of newspaper subscription fees.

In turn, Apple would make all of the subscription services available in its app store. Exact details on how users would pay for the service were not disclosed in the report.

To improve the publications' advertising revenue, Apple has reportedly decided to create an "opt-in function" for future subscribers. Those who agree to participate would authorize Apple to share "vital data that news organizations use to attract advertisers."

Currently, The Wall Street Journal charges $3.99 per week for access to its content on the iPad. It also provides a seven-day archive of stories in its app. However, several newspapers have been slow to create iPad apps, reportedly due to issues they've had negotiating with Apple.

Earlier this year, the Financial Times reported that Apple and print publications had trouble coming to terms on "ownership of subscriber information and pricing." At the time, Apple's policy of taking 30 percent of revenue generated from an iPad app was troublesome to publishers. Apple also didn't want to share customer data for publisher advertising initiatives, which publications took offense to, the report said.

The San Jose Mercury News failed to mention magazines in its report, indicating the deal could only be between Apple and newspaper publications. But considering magazine publishers are experiencing the same issues as newspapers, it would only make sense that Apple would ink similar deals with those outlets eventually.

An Apple spokesperson said in an e-mailed statement that the company "does not comment on rumors and speculation."