updated 09:26 pm EST, Thu January 17, 2013
Exclusive first look should prove a boost for Newsstand
Hearst Publishing, which offers a number of magazines on Apple's App Store and through Newsstand, has given the iPad maker an exclusive on its magazines. The publications will now appear on iTunes "a few days" ahead of any other platform, including print. A new page has been created in Newsstand called "Read Them Here First" to showcase the 20 titles that will debut in iPad versions before appearing elsewhere, including Amazon's Kindle Marketplace. The advance copies are available to current and new subscribers.
Titles available under the deal include Popular Mechanics, Bazaar, O(prah), Marie Clair, Car & Driver, Road & Track, Esquire, Cosmopolitan and Redbook among others. The Hearst deal follows on just hours after Rolling Stone announced it would join Newsstand, which has become Apple's main management app for subscribing and finding digital magazines (though they are also available through the general App Store in most cases).
Publishers who initially balked at Apple's "distributor" take of 30 percent and privacy controls that separated publishers from subscriber data have largely capitulated due to the success of digital magazines generally in attracting both traditional and new subscribers. Hearst CEO David Carey called the Newsstand model "more efficient" than any other digital marketplace when Hearst originally signed on in 2011.
Studies have shown that iPad users are more willing to pay for premium content through Newsstand, and that "sampler" issues offered for free along with free magazine "apps" that handle subscriptions through in-app purchasing are popular. An earlier survey of publishers said that many are seeing five to seven times the number of downloads they were getting with just Zinio, a respected standalone app that functions similarly to Newsstand, but lets publishers keep more of the purchase cost.
Newsstand, on the other hand, takes a 30 percent cut of the purchase price, but also boast up to 80 percent subscriber retention rates.