Apple launches digital billing subscription service

Apple has launched its digital billing subscription service for all content app producers.


The model, launched by News Corp for its iPad-only title The Daily last week, will let publishers set the price and length of the subscription (weekly, monthly, bi-monthly, quarterly, bi-yearly or yearly), while users can choose how frequently they’re charged and for how long they commit to a subscription.

Customers can review and manage all their subscriptions from their personal account page, including cancelling automatic renewals.

Subscriptions purchased from within the Apple App Store will be sold using the same billing system, with Apple retaining its 30% cut for processing payments.

It has also confirmed that publishers will be allowed to sell app subscriptions through their own websites, bypassing Apple’s 30% stake, but will have to offer subscriptions through Apple from within the app for the same price or less.

Apple CEO Steve Jobs said in a statement, “When we bring a new subscriber to the app, it earns us a 30% share. When the publisher brings an existing or new subscriber to the app, the publisher keeps 100% and we earn nothing.

“If a publisher is making a subscription offer outside the app, the same (or better) offer must be made inside the app so that customers can easily subscribe with one click right in the app,” he added. “We believe this innovative subscription service will provide publishers with a brand new opportunity to expand digital access to their content onto the iPad, iPod Touch and iPhone.”

To the frustration of many publishers, most apps to date have come under the constraints of Apple – a 30% cut of sales and no opportunity to collect subscription information – and it’s this that has stymied any real advancement of apps as a viable revenue stream.

The Daily will be the first to collect subscription data through in-app capabilities, while a push subscription feature will automatically renew subscriptions.

Taking the onus off the user to keep updating will go some way to addressing the issue of download drop-off, industry experts believe.

This story first appeared on

Latest from Marketing Week


Access Marketing Week’s wealth of insight, analysis and opinion that will help you do your job better.

Register and receive the best content from the only UK title 100% dedicated to serving marketers' needs.

We’ll ask you just a few questions about what you do and where you work. The more we know about our visitors, the better and more relevant content we can provide for them. And, yes, knowing our audience better helps us find commercial partners too. Don't worry, we won't share your information with other parties, unless you give us permission to do so.

Register now


Our award winning editorial team (PPA Digital Brand of the Year) ask the big questions about the biggest issues on everything from strategy through to execution to help you navigate the fast moving modern marketing landscape.


From the opportunities and challenges of emerging technology to the need for greater effectiveness, from the challenge of measurement to building a marketing team fit for the future, we are your guide.


Information, inspiration and advice from the marketing world and beyond that will help you develop as a marketer and as a leader.

Having problems?

Contact us on +44 (0)20 7292 3703 or email

If you are looking for our Jobs site, please click here