While publications like WSJ and The New York Times have either complied to Apple’s In-App Subscription policies or devised clever workarounds, The Financial Times refused to take any of these measures, which is why Apple has removed the app from the App Store, two months after its 30th June deadline.
All In-App Subscriptions going through Apple meant that publishers would never get any information about subscribers. This pinched FT more than Apple’s 30 percent cut, since they claim their subscription model centers around owning data about its readers. An FT spokesperson told PaidContent:
“The FT iPad and iPhone apps will no longer be available to new users through iTunes. We are directing readers to the FT‘s new web app available at app.ft.com. iTunes will remain an important channel for new and existing advertising based apps.”
The FT web app, which was launched just a couple of months back, tries to mimic the native app experience right from presenting progress bars to displaying text like “Please wait, downloading app”. The publication claims 550,000 users read FT through the web app, available at app.ft.com.
Last year, nearly 10 percent of the company’s new digital subscriptions came from the iPad. The number of FT subscribers have doubled since the début of the FT app on the App Store, which has helped the company to reduce its reliance on ads as a medium for revenue.
FT joins Amazon, Walmart and many other companies, which have offered iPad optimised web apps to bypass the App Store’s strict policies. What effect does this have on FT’s digital subscriber growth remains to be seen.