Apple and Google's subscription models for online publishers

Paul Armstrong

Background

More and more publishers are creating new or migrating existing offline publications to emerging online platforms, particularly tablets and mobile. Murdoch's new The Daily is a prime example. As a consequence, both Apple and Google are competing heavily to convince publishers that their platforms, user experiences, and advertising models are the most commercially viable propositions. Last week Apple and Google raised the stakes by announcing two different "one-click subscription models" for publishers, with the key difference being the amount each party will get for each subscription sold. Apple will get 30% for each subscription sold through their platform. In contrast, Google's "One Pass" system is a flat 10% charge (i.e. the publisher keeps 90%). The new Apple system is mandatory starting June 30th while Google's is opt-in and available now.