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Adobe’s Tablet Publishing Suite Takes A Slice Out Of Publisher Margins.

Posted by Dan Vigil on March 12, 2011

Adobe Tablet-Martha StewartJust as publishers are settling in on the hefty fees they have to pay for distributing content on Apple and Google devices (30% and 10% respectively), they were dealt another blow this week from Adobe.  With the release of Adobe’s Enterprise Publishing Suite, publishers can more easily produce tablet applications using Adobe’s Creative Suite. Neglecting to offer specific pricing, the company is offering custom quotes to mid-large sized publishers based upon the following fee structure:

1.Monthly Platform Fee: This is a monthly service fee that publishers will pay to access hosted services, produce branded content applications and access prebuilt analytics reports powered by Omniture, Adobe’s Online Marketing Suite. There’s been mention of $699 per month as a starting point for publishers.

2.Per-Issue Fee: This is a fee that’s paid each time content is delivered into applications created using the Adobe Digital Publishing Suite. This means that if publishers produce a daily issue they would be charged a fee every day for every subscriber who downloads new content. This fee covers the fulfillment of content into the app. These fees will start out at .15 per download and may decrease as volume increases.

Following the lead of Google and Apple, Adobe is trying to get a piece of the pie from content producers as well. If you add the 30% Apple fee to the .15 per-issue fee that Adobe charges, content producers would have to charge $1.50 per week just to break even. This is 50% more than News Corp is charging for The Daily. To deliver content daily on Google devices, the break even point is $1.17 per week or 17% higher than The Daily.

I’ve played with the Adobe pre-release for a couple of weeks now and it’s well worth the $699 software as-a-service monthly fee allowing publishers to more easily produce tablet apps directly from inDesign, but the per-issue fees are a little hard to accept.

Fortunately for publishers, there are other options. WoodWing Software, for example, has beat Adobe to market with their suite of tools which also publish tablet content directly from InDesign. While their setup and install fees may be a little higher, they are not asking for per-issue fees or charging monthly fees for hosted services. I’ve had the opportunity to tinker with their tools as well and they are just as powerful as Adobe’s without the monthly/recurring overhead.

While I’m a staunch Adobe evangelist, I have to disagree with their strategy on this one. I wish they would stick to what they’ve always excelled at, developing powerful publishing tools.  They should leave the content business to publishers or there won’t be enough business left to buy their tools.

Whatever the case, I think it’s clear that the tools are there for publishers to do it right this time and possibly turn the industry around. They need to take a tablet-first approach, and learn to create content experiences on new devices. This can’t be done with outside developers, the technology has to be embraced and become a part of the newsroom.

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One Response to “Adobe’s Tablet Publishing Suite Takes A Slice Out Of Publisher Margins.”

  1. […] Read the rest here: Adobe's Tablet Publishing Suite Takes A Slice Out Of Publisher … […]

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