Apple to sell newspaper subscriptions

A rumour circulating the web claims that Apple is looking to add newspaper subscription plans to its App Store offerings.

In a move which throws a life-line to dead-tree media, Apple will offer paid-for digital versions of a range of newspapers through the App Store on iOS-based devices in exchange for a cut of both subscription and advertising revenues.

Although Apple is keeping quiet on its plans, the San Jose Mercury News quotes digital publishing expert Roger Fidler who is predicting that Apple will likely take a 30 per cent cut of the subscription charges generated from any digital edition along with a whopping 40 per cent of the advertising cash.

Such a scenario would be win-win for Apple, giving the company a wider range of content to tempt iPad holdouts while creating a whole new - and potentially extremely lucrative - revenue stream.

Publishers wouldn't lose out too much in the deal either: with Apple's backing, they've got a captive audience to sell their subscriptions to - and it's always possible that a buyer of a digital edition could be converted into buying its hard-copy counterpart.

The risk, however, is that subscribers would instead cancel their physical subscriptions in favour of the - presumably cheaper - digital editions, and unless the advertising revenue from the iPad version covers the extra loss the publishers could end up in real trouble.

So far the claims have yet to be confirmed, but with the iBooks electronic book market hotting up it's almost certainly a sector that Apple is looking at with growing interest.