Bloomberg Pleased with Apple’s Subscription Terms

| News

There may be a chorus of grousing from publishers when it comes to Apple’s subscription terms for iOS apps, but Bloomberg isn’t joining in; after the launch of its Bloomberg BusinessWeek+ app for iPad, the company told PaidContent that it was “pleased” with the terms Apple is offering (or demanding, depending on one’s point of view).

Bloomberg purchased BusinessWeek from McGraw Hill in 2009, began turning it around, and today the company’s ad pages are up 49%. The move to the iPad, however, is apparently a big deal to the company.

Oke Okaro, Bloomberg’s global head of mobile operations, told PaidContent, “The iPad is the most important place to be right now, and that’s where we’re focused.”

He added, “We are very pleased with Apple’s terms.”

This stands in stark contrast to some other publishers who are very unhappy that Apple is taking 30% of subscription revenue from subscriptions generated from within the app, and the company won’t share subscriber data with the publishers. This is a sore spot with those publishers who consider that data one of their most important advertising tools.

Mr. Okaro, however, dismissed that as an issue, saying that there other opportunities to interact with their customers and get them to willingly volunteer that information through surveys and other interactive features.

Bloomberg BusinessWeek+ is a free download, but it requires a US$2.99 per month subscription. Subscribers to the print version can access it for free.

BusinessWeek Screenshot

Bloomberg BusinessWeek+ iPad cover



This was never much about Apple’s 30% cut but always principally about customers’ personal info.  Apple requires that publishers and other developers to go directly to the customer and obtain his informed consent to acquire and use his personal info, or get the customer’s personal info from outside the App Store, where a developer can strike whatever deal it/he wants with the customers.  Apparently, BusinessWeek is willing to obtain a customer’s informed consent for that customer’s personal information from its App Store app, or it is prepared to obtain the customer’s info outside of its App Store app.

Why can’t other developers and, particularly, other publishers do the same thing?


Good point Nemo. Collecting information from outside the generic information any app might get from the App store only makes sense. There might even be an advantage for giving up one’s private information if the reasons are shown to be advantageous to the customer. No such advantage differentiates ink publishing, does it?

It really does seem to be a new world for the publishers to get their heads round. Paper and electrons are two different mediums for the media to grapple with. Bloomberg may be on to something.


Also, if furnishing pertinent info to the publisher makes the need for a subscription cost to subscription redundant that would cut Apple out of the picture regarding its 30% subscription take.

What if this works so well that even Steven King posts ebooks for fee? Maybe a list of advertisers geared to one’s interests might not be objectionable. The adverts could be set in a separate section of the novel and not be distracting from the reading experience?


Dear Mhikl:  If a publisher wants to offer a no-fee, ad-supported subscription in exchange for a customer’s personal info, I don’t think anything in Apple’s developer’s agreement prevent that, provided the developers gets the customer’s informed consent to acquire and use the customer’s data in consideration for an ad-supported subscription.

You see, Apple does not forbid a developer from getting a customers personal info but requires that the developer obtained the customer’s informed consent to acquire and use that customer’s personal information.  Apple has to do that, because, unlike Google and Facebook and others, Apple privacy policy does not grant it the right to simply exchange customers’ data with third-parties, once the customer purchases or uses any of Apple’s products and/or services.  So Apple must send the developer to customers for permission.

Google and Facebook, however, have a whole different process.  You must consent to their respective privacy policies to use their services, and their policies grants them very broad rights to acquire, use, and/or transfer to others your personal information.  Apple does not have that type of arrangement with its customers.

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