Amazon has begun the process of courting magazines and newspapers for its as-yet unannounced Android tablet. Citing unnamed sources, The Wall Street Journal reported that Amazon is offering a deal similar to what Apple has negotiated, but has hinted it might be willing to sweeten the pot.
Amazon has long been rumored to be developing an Android-based tablet, and that news hit full stride when TechCrunch reported that it had spent some quality face time with a prototype unit. The 7” device is being prepped for a late fall release date, and though it is being powered by Android, Amazon has usurped the look and feel, removed all Google services except for search, and built the device around its own ecosystem of content, including ebooks, streaming TV shows and movies, the Amazon Appstore for Android, and, of course, the company’s massive online retail store.
One piece of that content, however, is the world of periodicals. Amazon already offers many and more newspapers on its Kindle ereader, but the company wants to bring those publications, as well as magazines, to its full touchscreen interface like Apple has with the iPad. That means that apps have to be either developed for Amazon’s device or ported from iOS, and Amazon needs to get publishers on board with producing them and buying into its subscription model.
It’s the subscription model that brings in comparisons to Apple. Apple not only has all the market share in the tablet market, Apple has also set the bar when it comes to subscriptions.
For iOS devices, Apple keeps 30% of subscription fees and requires that in-app subscription purchases be limited to Apple’s subscription engine. This serves the dual role of giving Apple a piece of the pie and allowing the company to insure what happens when you hit an in-app purchase link.
Apple has also insisted on maintaining complete control over subscriber info, something that chaps the corporate hide of publishers everywhere. When iPad users subscribe to a magazine or a newspaper through the app, Apple doesn’t share demographic info about that purchaser with the publisher.
This info has traditionally been a very lucrative part of the publishing industry, which used it not only for selling ads, but also profited by selling the data itself. Apple received a lot of pushback over this issue, but many publishers eventually came on board with newspapers and magazine apps for the iPad anyway.
According to The Journal, mum’s the word on whether or not Amazon is going to play ball with publishers in this area, but the newspaper’s sources said that “some executives” have indicated they are willing to give those publishers a better financial deal than Apple.