MG Siegler on Apple’s new subscription rules:
He might as well be saying: “Everyone take a deep breath — here’s why this makes sense.” And there’s no question that it does make sense — for Apple. But a lot of third-party developers both large and small are going to be very, very pissed off by this move. Why? Because it totally changes the game. Companies with subscription elements of their content had been accustomed to leveraging Apple’s platform for free. Now there will be a fee. And it will be a significant fee.
You’ll seldom go wrong betting on Apple doing something that’s good for Apple and good for its users — no matter what the ramifications for everyone else.
I am sure this upsetting for those who were hoping they could just transfer the analog paradigm for publishing magazines to a digital world. But the old way of doing things was geared for the benefit of the shareholders and advertisers, not the readers.
The Daily has many flaws but the main one for me has recently been discussed – Why would I pay for all this content that I do not care about one bit? The Daily has a couple of thigs I like each day and a vast majorioty I could care less about. Why should I pay for all that society stuff? Is the news I do care about compelling enough to pay for even with all the stuff I do not want?
Not in my opinion. I want to read the news I want, not be spoonfed what others have decided is the best.
Let’s make Flipboard into the paradigm shifting monster it can be – providing a straightforward aggregation of information the individual cares about or a reasonable price.
An aggregator like Flipboard but with a subscription feature.
We pay for cable as an aggregator of a lot of stuff I may not care about because of the stuff I do care about. Sure, each channel could require a payment. We could have a totally ala carte approach but then all the channels would have to be competing with ex-other and try for mass appeal. The stuff that appeals to a smaller but valuable percentage would disappear.
But by aggregating channels and giving each a part of the pie, the entire value becomes higher and something worth paying an aggregate price for.
Perhaps we could have a very different type of subscription for Flipboard. Let’s have something like Major News Media Domestic where for say $1 a week we could get access to the national news developed in-house by the Washington Post, Boston Globe, Chicago Sun-Times, LA Times, Houston Chronicle and others. No wire service stuff – that would be a separate subscription.
Now, every time I see an article in Flipboard I want to read, I can click it and read it. I chose the news I want to read from the media I want. But is it aggregated and each of the papers gets a cut from my subscription.
So, in much the same way the Gold Channel can survive, these media could survive.
They could even track which articles are popular helping their metrics in very valuable ways, particularly for advertisers. They could have links to more in depth articles that I could make an in-app purchase for. Like in this example where you can click if you wish to know more.
This would be a paradigm shifting approach to reading the news, permitting those organizations that produce the best in-house material to work together.
Perhaps, several smaller organizations could aggregate a ‘channel’ providing value for a weekly $1. What would it take to please the reading habits of say 20,000 people a week? What could $1 million a year create? Well, actually $700,000 after Apple gets it cut.
Just think of the ability for useful newsletters to be aggregated like this? Five guys writing about the Star Trek Universe, who might even be doing it for free right now, could move some content to this realm. 10,000 subscribers and they could make a pretty good living.
This is where things will go. I think the group that gets this business plan up and going soonest will kill any old style publisher trying to create a Daily-like edition. Ecen if Apple gets their 30%.