WSJ joins Apple’s Newsstand


News Corp.-owned Dow Jones’ The Wall Street Journal newspaper has finally signed up for Apple’s Newsstand, a service that brings subscription-based digital newspapers and magazines to your iPhone, iPod touch or iPad. This means you can now subscribe to WSJ in-app, via iTunes billing, and get daily issues delivered straight to your iOS devices each morning.

You will also get alerts for breaking news and avoid sharing detailed information about yourself with the publisher. The move wasn’t entirely unexpected knowing that rival Time Inc., which had been the most prominent holdout, also signed on earlier this year

The development is also interesting because it signifies that Rupert Murdoch News Corp.’s most-valued print property relented and is now OK with being on sale on Apple’s platform in exchange for Apple’s customary 30 percent cut on revenues received from in-app sales.

Let’s not forget that Newsstand publishers also must agree to Apple’s pro-consumer privacy policy that forbids them from fully controlling their relationship with subscribers as Apple only lets publishers know (with your approval) your name, email address and ZIP code.

As Peter Kafka notes on the AllThingsD blog, “up until now Journal was one of the highest-profile print publishers that wasn’t selling app access via Apple”.

Sources noted that former Dow Jones president Todd Larsen, who left the company last summer, had opposed selling subscriptions via Newsstand.

The company has updated its free iOS app to version 5.0 to support Newsstand features.

WSJ 5.0 for iOS (iPad screenshot 001)

The blurb says:

– WSJ is now in Newsstand! Get new issues automatically delivered to your device overnight. To use Newsstand, tap ‘Allow’ when prompted.
– Note: WSJ App icon will now appear in the Newsstand Folder.
– Breaking News Alerts from WSJ. To get alerts, tap ‘Allow’ when prompted.

In-App Subscriptions
– Purchase a monthly subscription to WSJ through your iTunes account. With a digital subscription you get access to iPad, iPhone, and more.

Previously, users would have to purchase a subscription outside the WSJ app, on the paper’s web site, which also meant entering their credit card information and share a wealth of information about themselves with the publication.

Here’s Apple’s ousted iOS chief Scott Forstall taking the wraps off Newsstand at WWDC 2011.

With today’s update, readers have a choice of subscribing to paper either through its web site or in-app.

It’s a win-win and Kafka agrees:

The move also makes it much easier for Apple customers to become Wall Street Journal customers, since they can use their existing iTunes account to pay for the paper. And it makes it easier for them to read the paper, since Newsstand gives developers the ability to update their publications automatically via “background” downloads.

News Corp., the media conglomerate, recently closed its iPad magazine The Daily. The firm owns Dow Jones and its business newspaper, The Wall Street Journal, as well as the AllThingsD blog.

I guess Murdoch & Co. found what everybody else pretty much have long figured, that putting their warez on Apple’s easy-to-use platform leads to an increase in subscriptions.

Newsstand debuted alongside iOS 5 in June 2011 as a new service aimed at publishers to sell their digital publications to iOS users, with automatic downloading of the latest issue and subscription-based charging.

Some people were annoyed that they couldn’t remove the stock Newsstand icon from their home screen, but jailbreak developers saw to it with numerous tweaks, like NoNewsIsGoodNews. Windows tools like StifleStand also get the job done without requiring a jailbroken device.

Other tweaks are also available, such as Download to Newsstand that Jeff told you about earlier today, making it easier to identify pending downloads.

As much as part of my blogging workflow involves subscribing to paywall’d content, I’ve never gotten around purchasing a digital WSJ subscription via their web site.

The process is cumbersome and my eyes roll whenever I’m asked to fill out crazy detailed web forms.

One-click buying via iTunes is important to me and I might take the plunge now and subscribe to WSJ in-app.