20 Minute

Complimentary DAM Assessment

Andrew Lomas
By Andrew Lomas on 13/09/2011 7:30:49 AM

WoodWing Digital Magazine Subscription Tools

Options for Renewable Subscription Offers

Introduction
In traditional printed media, subscriptions have long been the preferred method for customers to obtain new issues. Up until WoodWing’s Tablet Publishing Solution, current options for tablet devices often fell short of offering an easy and flexible way to offer subscription options to end users. With version 1.6, WoodWing first offered subscription support, giving publishers the ability to integrate with their existing subscription system. As of version 1.7, WoodWing offered the ability to integrate with the world’s premiere digital application portal: iTunes. With version 1.8, WoodWing’s Tablet Publishing Solution offers a hybrid system that lets publishers integrate iTunes with their existing subscription system.

This white paper will begin with an overview of WoodWing’s Reader apps, then provide a simple outline of how the Digital Magazine Tools offers three methods for renewable subscription offers: 1) through the use of Apple’s iTunes, 2) through the integration of an external subscription server, and 3) with a hybrid system that combines both.

WoodWing’s Reader Apps
When implementing WoodWing’s Digital Magazine Tools, a publisher can choose from four versions of WoodWing’s Reader App, each with its own feature set: Basic, Standard, Pro, and Framework. The Basic and Standard editions only support content that is embedded in the actual App, whereas the Pro and Framework editions offer content served by WoodWing’s Content Delivery Service (CDS). For the Pro and Framework editions, the editorial content is not embedded in the App until it is purchased and downloaded. By hosting content in the Cloud with WoodWing’s CDS, subscriptions become a viable option for end-users.

How Subscriptions Work
Since content is not stored directly in the App with the Pro and Framework versions, it is trivial to add another process where end-users can be checked to see if they are current subscribers and, if not, offer a method to subscribe. The diagram below illustrates this process. A unique identifier, stored with the Reader App, checks with WoodWing’s CDS to determine if the user is a current subscriber. Depending upon the implementation, the CDS will validate the identifier against an external subscription server or iTunes. Once the validation is returned, the CDS can determine what issues to provide to the device.

Validating iTunes Subscriptions
iTunes is the world’s premiere digital marketplace, offering Apps, books, and music downloads to millions of iOS devices. Integration with iTunes offers publishers a marketplace with enormous revenue potential. Since subscriptions, including payment, are completely integrated in the iTunes environment, the process is simple and attractive to end-users.

To integrate with iTunes, publishers must have:
• a WoodWing CDS account
• an iTunes Connect account
• a WoodWing Reader App (Pro or Framework) with Subscription functionality

The WoodWing CDS account holds all content that a publisher makes available to its end users. This content can be marked as free or requiring a subscription to access. When an end-user downloads content, the CDS is responsible for its delivery.

The iTunes Connect account traditionally made Apps and in-App purchases available to iOS devices. As of February, 2011, iTunes Connect now offers subscriptions. Subscription durations are offered according to a tiered pricing matrix and are auto-renewable.

The WoodWing Reader App is a publisher-customized iOS App provided by WoodWing as part of the Digital Magazine Tools solution. Downloading content from the CDS is default functionality in the Pro and Framework versions of the Reader App. In order to make use of subscriptions, customers will need to build Apps using a free, subscription-enabled version of WoodWing’s Reader App.

The process of purchasing a subscription is as simple as clicking on a ‘subscribe’ button in the publisher’s Reader App. Note that with iTunes subscriptions Apple takes 30% of the subscription price to cover costs and limits the amount of demographic data available to publishers.

External Server Subscriptions
External server subscriptions allow publishers to integrate subscriptions with their own existing subscription systems or to allow multiple-platform (iOS, Android, etc) subscription plans. With an external subscription server in place, this option is attractive to publishers who want to bundle print subscriptions with their digital product offerings.

To integrate external server subscriptions, a publisher needs:
• a WoodWing CDS account
• a self-hosted subscription server
• a WoodWing Reader App (Pro or Framework) with Subscription functionality

As in the iTunes model, the WoodWing CDS account hosts issue content and delivers that content to a WoodWing Reader App.

The self-hosted subscription server contains information from the publisher that validates a new or existing subscription. This server can integrate with the publisher’s existing subscription system for printed or web products, for example. Subscription durations and pricing are set by the publisher in this model.

As in the iTunes model, the WoodWing Reader App is a publisher-customized App provided by WoodWing as part of the Digital Magazine Tools solution. Downloading content from the CDS is default functionality in the Pro and Framework versions of the Reader App. Publishers will need to build their Apps using a free, subscription-enabled version in order to provide subscriptions to end-users.

Hybrid Subscriptions
With version 1.8 of WoodWing’s Tablet Publishing Solution, publishers are now able to offer both iTunes subscriptions and external server subscriptions in the same App. Requirements combine the two options listed above.

In this model, users are able to purchase an iTunes subscription when using an iOS device or can log-in to download issues if they signed up via the publisher’s subscription website.

[caption id="attachment_2307" align="alignleft" width="400"]

The Store screen, shown here in a vertical orientation. The subscription area at the top is an embedded HTML page showing prices and durations for a subscription.

[/caption]

When using Android or another platform, the publisher’s subscription server would be used instead.

Note that Apple restrictions prevent publishers from linking to external subscription server sign-up pages from within iOS Apps, and that iTunes subscriptions must be equal or better than the publisher’s print subscription rates.

User Interface
In WoodWing’s Pro and Framework Reader Apps, a Store screen contains a Subscription area that provides offers to end-users. The Subscription area consists of an HTML page, and thus allows for complete customization.

Promotional HTML banners and Subscribe / Login buttons can be implemented, allowing end-users to sign up for a subscription, and/or log in to their account. If logged in, the Library screen of the Reader App provides access to content that is part of an end-user’s subscription which can be downloaded for reading.

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Summary
WoodWing’s Tablet Publishing Solution provides the greatest flexibility of any digital magazine solution for subscriptions. By offering iTunes, external subscription server integrations or a hybrid approach, publishers are free to choose the model which best suits their needs and revenue expectations. In both models, validation of subscription options are ensured along with the ability to customize the screens presented to the end-users. By offering choice to the publisher, WoodWing continues to establish itself as the premiere vendor of tablet publishing solutions.

Videos about WoodWing's solutions are available in their YouTube channel.

WoodWing, the WoodWing logo, Content Station, Digital Magazine Tools and the WoodWing Content Delivery service are either registered trademarks or trademarks of WoodWing Software BV incorporated in the Netherlands and/or other countries. Adobe and InDesign are trademarks of Adobe Systems Incorporated registered in the United States and/or other countries. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners.

© 2011 WoodWing Software BV. All rights reserved.

Topics: Adobe, CDS, Content Station, digi mag, InCopy, InDesign, Publishing and Workflow, Design, Editorial, iOS, News & Announcements, software, Subscription, Whitepapers, WoodWing

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