Thursday, January 20, 2011

Head of Flemish Newspaper Association lashes out at Apple, protesting the 30% commission and access to data

The CEO of the Flemish Newspaper Association, Patrick Lacroix, recently penned a provocative blog posting on Mediargus.be that criticizes Apple and its relations with newspaper publishers. In his post, Lacxroix says that Apple is not cooperating with Belgian and Dutch publishers and pleads with the tech giant to be more accommodating.

The two biggest complaints from Lacroix have been heard before: that Apple is not willing to share user data with publishers, and that the commission charged by Apple is excessive.

"30 % is neither a reasonable nor a suitable remuneration for the distributor who only adds a limited value. If Apple wants to take part in the conversation about subscriptions it will have to be at least ten times less that percentage," Lacroix writes.
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The tone of Lacroix's post is rather defiant, and his take on the newspaper industry is almost as if from another world. "A newspaper publisher is as free as a bird. The more you want to cage him, the more he will want to fly away," Lacroix writes.

(It should be pointed out that the post appears in both English and Dutch and the translation of the Dutch via Google is a bit different.)

The Lecroix post may be a reaction to Dutch newspaper stories from last week that told of the complaints of William De Nolf, director of new media at Roularta. De Nolf, like many others in the publishing business, would like to offer print subscribers free access to their iPad editions, while charging new readers. But Apple has held firm that it wants purchases to go through the iTunes store, and that they do not want iPad owners to be charged for content that is otherwise free for others. In other words, you can't save your print business on our backs. Clearly some publishers see it differently.

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