Friday, August 12, 2011

Morning Brief: Meredith begins to offer subscriptions via their tablet editions; Short-selling bank stocks a no-no now in parts of Europe; Republicans kick off crazy season

Before we start this morning, a few updates – to apps, that is. A slew of updates were made this morning to media apps, all of them relatively minor.

One of them is to the B2B app from the American Chemical Society which TNM wrote about yesterday: C&EN Mobile, which is the universal app for Chemical & Engineering News. Like the others for The New Yorker Magazine and IKEA Catalogue, the app description only mentions minor bug fixes. This update doesn't include the August issues – in fact, I doubt an update will be necessary in order to bring in new issues, that, I sure, can be done on the backend.

Meredith has updated its magazine apps and will now sell subscriptions direction through Apple's App Store, as well as offer it current print subscribers with free access to the tablet editions.

The three magazines involved here include Better Homes and Gardens, Fitness Magazine and Parents Magazine.

The move contrasts with the constant drumbeat coming from some media quarters that Apple has been ripping off publishers with its App Store policies, which readers, on the other hand, have been blasting publishers within the store for not offering subscription prices in line with what they are willing of offer outside the store.

The BH&Gs app, for instance, has far more one star reviews than five (four to one negative) with the same complaint, exemplified by this review:
My wife was excited...until: My wife has a years subscription for which she paid 12 dollars. She was excited to find this app until she saw the $4 per issue cost. That would come out to $48 per year. Four times the cost of receiving the actual magazine in the mail. What a rip off!
If a consumer is a magazine reader they are smart enough to know that print subscriptions are discounted, why not digital editions which not only save on production, but distributions costs, as well – far more than the 30 percent Apple is taking, by the way.

Four European nations have banned short-selling on banks and other financial institutions in a move to stabilize their markets. France's Autorite des Marches Financiers will ban short-selling on 11 bank and insurance stocks for 15 days following a sharp drop in some stocks caused by rumors.

Italy, Spain and Belgium are the other three countries to make the temporary move.

Yesterday stocks in both Europe and the U.S. were sharply higher.

Texas Governor Rick Perry has made it official, he is asking Texas to secede from the union he is running for President.

Meanwhile, eight previously declared candidates debated on Fox News. None called for nationalizing the means of production or advocated for free love.

It promises to be another long political season.