updated 09:00 am EST, Thu November 11, 2010
Next Issue tablet mags due on Android first
A joint storefront from top publishers to sell tablet magazines, Next Issue, will launch on Android first and not the iPad, its CEO Morgan Guenther said today. While there weren't any technical obstacles to an iPad version of the store, Next Issue said it would go with an Android version first since it was a "very important tablet platform" and also important on phones. Support for Apple would come in time, he told AllThingsD, but only the Android version would be ready for the early 2011 launch.
The decision to side with Android is already speculated to be a pressure tactic against Apple to get more favorable terms. Google's lighter rules for Android apps, which have both looser rules in Android Market and allow non-Market titles, let publishers offer magazines largely with their own plans. Apple still demands 30 percent of subscriptions from within iOS apps, forcing publications to either charge more or accept lower profits. Apple also won't disclose subscriber data, which hurts the ability to target advertising.
Next Issue may have sway with Apple as its leadership includes executives from some of the most important publishers, such as Conde Nast, Hearst, News Corp and Time. The combination has led it to be called the "Hulu of magazines" for bringing competitors together to help promote a digital storefront. Time Warner chief Jeff Bewkes recently hinted that he wasn't happy with Apple's current terms and was looking forward to deals with "other tablet makers" that would push Apple into allowing similar pricing.
Apple has publicly remained firm, but rumors have mounted in recent months of an iPad newsstand app that would exist outside of iBooks. The platform would partly address technical limitations like background downloading, but it also open the possibility of different conditions than Apple demands on every other store.