I think if you needed any more proof of Apple becoming not just a consumer electronics and software giant, but also a media empire to be reckoned with, here’s one more example for you. Apple and Hearst’s publishing arm have arranged a clever deal where if you subscribe to a Hearst magazine through Newsstand, you’ll get new issues before they hit print or any other device.
Apple and Hearst aren’t saying much about the deal, but it seems like smart business to me. Great competitive advantage for Apple and Hearst can jump start views of ads (and online campaigns). TechCrunch broke the story and had this to say about the deal:
The exclusive arrangement varies by individual publication in terms of how far in advance you’ll be able to get the various Hearst titles compared to in print and from other online storefronts like Amazon’s Kindle marketplace, but each will be available at least a few days in advance, I’m told. Existing subscribers will get early access, as well as those signing up for the first time.
Hearst has previously indicated that its titles were seeing signs of significant success on Apple’s Newsstand store for digital periodicals. It said earlier this year that it has 800,000 total digital subscribers, and while it’s unclear exactly how many of those came on board via its iOS-based publications, the company did share in December, 2011 that despite early fears they might lose out on a direct subscriber relationship through Apple’s store, more than 60 percent of subscribers actually opt in to info sharing through Newsstand, and “efficient” delivery method Newsstand provides led to a significant surge in digital subscriptions. Late last year, analytics firm App Annie found that Newsstand revenue in general had quadrupled since its launch.
Why does this strengthen Apple as media empire? Well, if a major publisher like Hearst sees the value in a deal with Apple that would give people who own Apple products a special bonus, that is a signal to all other publishers that this might make good business sense as well.
Then, well, publishers learn that they are locked into a (albeit lucrative) relationship with Apple. You want to stay on top of the heap? Want to edge out competing magazines and publications, then you need to play ball with Apple.
Simple as that.
Clever move Apple. Hearst will undoubtedly enjoy this boost, not to mention a special section in iTunes, readers will enjoy getting early access to the content they love. Amazon and Google? They probably aren’t so happy about it.
I love reading magazines on my iPads. Right now my favorite is Marco Arment’s The Magazine. With this deal maybe I’ll give Popular Science another look.