Apple did not respond to a request for comment. But
Publishers "want the data of their customers so they can integrate it into their circulation database so they know who their customers are," said Fidler, who works with many newspapers.
While a handful of national papers already offer app subscriptions to iPad users, major metropolitan papers across the country are getting ready to roll out their own publication apps and have been in discussions with Apple. Industry leaders hope tablet devices and subscription-based digital editions can help newspapers stem, if not reverse, losses incurred after they began offering content online for free years ago.
"Newspapers are seriously trying to re-create the traditional print model in digital editions for tablets and e-readers," Fidler said.
Publishers wanted to pay Apple a fee rather than a cut of subscription and advertising revenue and are not happy with Apple's terms, he said. They had hoped to offer app editions as part of subscription bundles that include print versions of the paper. Instead, they must use Apple as an intermediary with subscribers.
While the leap into the digital tablet market comes
with short-term problems for newspapers, the iPad and future tablets
will provide a new digital palette for publications to create
sophisticated and lucrative ads, said
"I would say it's a risk, but I would argue it's a short-term risk," Wolf said. "If you can put animation and multimedia into ads, that will greatly enhance reader views. I am certain of that."
That could benefit Apple, as well.
Apple is expected to dominate the consumer tablet
market for at least a couple of years. But analysts expect high-quality
tablets based on
While newspapers are anxious to get subscriber-based content onto tablets, there is some concern readers could drop print editions for app versions too quickly.
"Most publishers don't want to see a rapid migration to apps without a comparable growth in advertisement revenue from tablet editions," Fidler said. "That would be disastrous."
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