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The Financial Times is on-record as saying its iPad app generated a tenth of its (85,892) new cross-platform digital subscriptions last year.
Assuming each subscription was the cheapest, £233.48 ($376.63) per tier, that would have made for £2 ($3.23) million in new iPad revenue. Praise, iPad!
But here’s where things get sticky for the FT — all of those 8,589 new iPad subscribers signed up using the publisher’s own in-app payment mechanism, which Apple (NSDQ: AAPL) will now apparently ban.
Were The Financial Times using iTunes Store payments last year, as it seems it must from June this year, it would have given Apple 30 percent of all this; that’s £601,621 ($970495.48).
That amount could have been higher if subscribers took out the higher-tier option, and will likely be higher still as more people buy iPads in future.
The publisher has not yet confirmed our estimates, which we did on its behalf, telling us: “It’s simply not yet clear how this will impact our model, but we’ll obviously be discussing this with Apple over the coming days.”
Others we have spoken with also seem shellshocked and uncertain of the effect, even though they knew it was coming some time ago and, in some cases, had already been in contact with Apple.
The FT is by no means alone today in taking subscriptions using its own mechanisms. Although they see the benefit in growing their business through iPad and iPhone, many publishers also believe Apple has never given them sufficient information about customers.
Update: The FInancial Times tells us: “Although there is nothing wrong in the method of the calculation, the headline figure is too high. A good proportion of the new subscriptions referenced in the calculation were from B2B corporate licences and the 10 percent of subscriptions driven by the iPad since its launch only applies to our new B2C FT.com acquisitions.”
Direct-to-consumer subs, as opposed to those taken out on a corporate site license, are still likely the majority of those bought.