Google has upped the ante in the digital publishing wars by launching a new payment system that allows publishers to hold onto more of their revenue and keep subscriber information.
One Pass, which launched this week, is a payment system that allows publishers to set the terms for access to their digital content, and provides “purchase-once, view-anywhere” functionality. In other words, if users buys a New York Times article subscription online, they can then view it free-of-charge on any of their other gadgets.
In September, IJNet reported that Apple had developed a subscription model that allows Apple to keep 30% off the top. Apple also doesn’t automatically give newspapers information on their subscribers—users have to opt-in to provide it. Publishers have expressed concern that most users won’t, robbing newspapers of valuable advertising information. Apple justifies this loss by essentially providing advertising itself, listing the news sites on ITunes and as an app for iPads and iPhones.
One Pass competes with Apple’s model by allowing publishers to keep 90% of their profits. Although Google doesn’t have a digital marketplace like iTunes, the model allows newspapers to receive full access to subscribers’ information. Google has also promised that the payment model is highly flexible in terms of what is offered, and includes subscriptions, day passes, pay-per article and other forms of access.
Presently, One Pass is only available to publishers in the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, France, Italy, Germany and Spain; but access will expand in the future.