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Hearst Magazines: iPad "a pretty efficient distribution for us"

Hearst Magazines, the publisher of titles such as Cosmopolitan and Esquire, is happy with electronic distribution on tablet devices such as the iPad. According to a Reuters article yesterday, Hearst President David Carey says the company has about 400,000 electronic subscribers so far and expects to have over 1 million subscribers at some point in 2012.

Tablet providers such as Apple take about 35 percent of subscription revenue, giving Hearst about 65 percent of the revenue of each subscription sold. That's better than print newsstand sales, where publishers only keep about 55 percent of revenue. Magazine publishers weren't happy with Apple's terms for subscriptions sold through the App Store, primarily because they gave up control of the subscriber data used to sell advertising.

Apple allows consumers to opt into sharing that personal data, and Carey said that up to 65 percent of iPad subscribers were allowing Hearst to have the information -- a figure he said was much higher than expected.

Between the higher revenues and still being able to get the subscriber information they want, Hearst Magazines is pretty happy with the deal. Publishers weren't ecstatic about negotiations with Apple earlier in 2011. Carey joked that "There was so much drama with Apple negotiations ... you would expect someone to sell the movie rights from all that debate last spring." Carey conceded that the Apple deal was "a pretty efficient distribution for us to be honest."

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