Hearst Magazines expects 1M digital subscribers in 2012, thanks iPad

As the year is coming to close, many companies step back and take stock of the decisions they have made over the last 12 months and determine if they are heading in the right direction. For Hearst Magazines, finally giving in to Apple's steadfast App Store rules has proved a wise--and lucrative--choice.

Talking to Reuters this week, Hearst Magazine President David Carey said that he expects to reach a million digital subscribers by the end of 2012, due in large part to the success of Apple's iPad and the ease of the new-to-iOS 5 Newsstand, which makes subscribing … Read more

Apple yanks 'first' subscription-based game app

Despite considerable fanfare from Big Fish Games as having the first subscription-based game on the App Store, it turns out the company was breaking Apple's rules, and has since paid the price.

As picked up on by iLounge earlier, Big Fish's software called Play Instantly! was pulled down by Apple today, shortly after its introduction.

A source familiar with the situation said the app should not have made it through Apple's app review process for its use of a monthly subscription to unlock gameplay, something Apple does not allow, and has not announced plans to offer to … Read more

Subscription games headed to the App Store

One day you might not own the games on your portable device. You might be renting them instead.

At least that's the vision from Seattle-based Big Fish Games, which has become the first developer to get a subscription-based video game on Apple's App Store, Bloomberg reports.

For $6.99 a month, users of the company's upcoming iPad application can play "dozens" of game titles within the single piece of software, versus the publisher coding each title as its own application and submitting it to the App Store. Those games are streamed to the app, versus … Read more

Facebook's Buffy: The Smartphone Slayer

Amazon is selling many smartphones for just a penny through Cyber Monday, Microsoft uses bacon to entice potential employees to its Kinect for Windows group, and Facebook may be working on a smartphone with HTC codenamed Buffy after the TV show.

Links from Tuesday's episode of Loaded:

Facebook's Buffy: The Smartphone Slayer Mobile app content ratings Bacon bonuses for Microsoft employees Adobe's new pricing scheme Amazon sells 1-cent non-iPhone smartphones Subscribe:  iTunes (MP3)iTunes (320x180)iTunes (HD)RSS (MP3)RSS (320x180)RSS HD

Adobe's new pricing plan: Ouch, users say

It's time for Photoshop customers to think carefully about how to pay for the software, because Adobe Systems is curtailing upgrade deals to steer people toward a new $600-per-year subscription for a wide range of its products.

Subscription pricing, in which a person gets rights to use software for period payments, has been a mixed success in recent years. Red Hat has made it work with Linux and related server software, but Microsoft's enthusiasm for subscription pricing seems to be emerging mostly through online services such as Office 365.

Adobe--a software powerhouse going through a rough patch with layoffsRead more

iOS 5 Newsstand is one small, small step for digital magazines

I've been reading magazines on my iPad for months. I didn't need iOS 5 to do it. I keep these apps--The New Yorker, Wired--in a separate folder on my iPad, called Reading. With iOS 5, that's no longer the case. A new baked-in app (or, rather, a type of smart folder) called Newsstand has now absorbed these apps into an iBooks-like wooden bookshelf.

Newsstand was one of the iOS 5 features that I'd been long awaiting, because I dreamed it would be a way of integrating books, periodicals, and all reading material into one destination. Alas, that's not the case here. Instead of being slotted into iBooks, Newsstand is a separate app. This means two icons to manage instead of one.

Also, I hoped that Newsstand would become a digital way of discovering not just magazines, newspapers, and journals, but a means of browsing covers and headlines from current issues. I browse real newsstands on the corner of 28th and Park, or at a bookstore, and based on what I see, I actually might buy an issue. A football preview came out this month? A cover story on a dinosaur discovery? Sure, I'll bite.

Newsstand on the iPad does none of this.… Read more

Rdio takes on Spotify with freer free option

Subscription music services aren't all the same, but they're similar enough that it's becoming increasingly important for companies to figure out a way to entice users into trying out a limited version of their service so they can hook them on it and convert them into paying customers. This freemium model has worked well for Spotify and now Rdio is upping the ante with a free streaming offer for PCs that's also ad-free.

We had to read the fine print to figure out just how free this offer is, but here's the basic deal: you … Read more

MOG subscriptions down, in-game purchases up

Since multiplayer online games like World of Warcraft first rose to pop culture prominence, subscription fees have fueled the revenue stream for developers. Now, a new report from market researcher iSuppli suggests microtransactions will drive industry growth in years to come.

Basically, fewer new players are signing up to play MOGs, the report says, but those who are playing are dropping their money on add-ons and other in-game enhancements.

The iSuppli analysis reports that subscriber revenue in the combined North American and European markets for PC massively multiplayer online games (MMOGs) and standard MOGs declined for the first time ever in 2010--piling up $1.58 billion in 2010, down 5 percent from $1.66 billion in 2009.

That decline seems even more dramatic when compared with the 10 percent annual growth in 2009 and the 21.6 percent increase in 2008. IHS did the math and speculates that the subscription market will decrease on an annual basis through the year 2015, when revenue will shrink away to $1.33 billion. … Read more

Amazon may launch Netflix-like book service

HP launches the TopShot LaserJet Pro printer that can scan 3D objects, Netflix finally arrives on most Android phones, and is rumored to be in talks with major publishers to launch a Netflix-like service for books.

Links from Monday's episode of Loaded:

Amazon may launch Netflix-like book services Netflix now works for most Android phones GRAIL heads to the moon White PS3 comes to Europe and Australia HP's 3D scanner Windows Phone 7.5 "Mango" gets a date Subscribe:  iTunes (MP3)iTunes (320x180)iTunes (HD)RSS (MP3)RSS (320x180) |&… Read more

Apple kills TV rentals, subscription offer not coming

Apple has done away with the 99-cent video rentals of TV shows it began offering last year via the Apple TV and iTunes.

Despite Apple's best efforts, most of the top networks weren't willing to offer shows for that price. News Corp.-owned Fox Television and Disney's ABC were the only two majors that were involved and even they offered a limited amount of content at 99 cents.

Now does this sound like the studios are willing to back a new subscription service from Apple or for anyone else for that matter? No. Don't put any … Read more