Has the Apple steamroller hit a pothole over its demand to media companies for print app subscriptions?
Apple announced a new subscription service for magazines, newspapers and music bought through its app store earlier this month. The terms shocked publishers: Apple wanted 30% of subscription revenues and to retain control of customer information.Scardino has no doubts about the value of online. It is a "global opportunity" for Pearson, with digital revenues now 40% of FT Group's revenues after strong growth in 2010, she says. But as for Apple's demands . . .
Scardino said it was unclear how Apple's proposal was going to work."We are still talking to them. The important thing to remember is there are many, many tablets coming out and multiple devices ... Kindles to mobiles. If indeed Apple are not happy to give us customer data, then maybe we will get it somewhere else." FT Group reported that revenues in 2010 were up 12% to £403m. Paid-for digital subscriptions rose 50% to 207,000, with digital services accounting for 40% of FT Group revenue. There were more than 900,000 downloads of FT apps on tablets and mobile phones. "It has always been an issue that we couldn't have millions of printing plants around the world," Scardino said. "The presence of all these tablets has been very important to the FT. Not only has it given a good medium, congenial to our readers, but it will proliferate. It is a global opportunity for us."