FT Still Negotiating With Apple On iPad Subscriptions

With a month to go until publishers must either fall in with Apple’s new in-app purchasing terms or quit iOS in June, The Financial Times is not yet amongst the small early group to have consented to the new rules.

“We’re still in discussions with them,” FT product management head Mary Beth Christie told paidContent:UK at World E-reading Congress in London on Tuesday morning. “We’ll see where they go. But we are fixed on the idea of holding on to our consumer data.”

But it’s not just about data – in 2010, iPad contributed a tenth of the FT’s new digital subscriptions, which can be used to read the title on multiple platforms. Right now, the mood music for a mutually acceptable solution does not sound promising. Check our earlier estimates for what the FT could lose.

Apple’s new terms, in which it seeks 30 percent of all in-app transactions, take effect from June 30, after a “grace period” which began when it announced the change in February. Despite widespread initial publisher concern, in the last couple of weeks Hearst,, Conde Nast and The Telegraph have been amongst those finally enabling their apps to work with the rules. The Telegraph told paidContent:UK: “Apple’s store is the most user-friendly route for subscribers.” Time Inc has also found a way to way to bring its print subscribers to iPad.

At World E-Reader Congress, Christie added: “One of our critical philosophies is that we have a direct relationship with our customers. We’re channel-neutral.”

This is the same philosophy the FT has been espousing since even before Apple (NSDQ: AAPL) made its intentions clear. It frequently cites harvesting and mining of audience data as one of the motivators behind its growth to what Christie said is now 225,000 paying subscribers and 3.5 million registered users.