Amazon launches marketplace for digital subscriptions

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Amazon has launched a new marketplace where people can shop for digital subscriptions like newspapers, magazines, and online classes and how-to content. It’s billed as Subscribe with Amazon.

Taking a look at the webpage, it’s clear what Amazon’s pitch is to publishers and content providers: get yourself in front of Amazon’s loyal and big spending community of Amazon Prime subscribers. As the homepage says: “Subscribe with Amazon is a self-service solution that allows you to make your digital subscription purchasable to millions of highly qualified shoppers who trust Amazon to be their primary shopping destination.”

And the Prime audience is a tantalising one. In the US there are 54 million Prime customers paying $99 per year for free TV shows, movies and swift shipping. Apparently 40% of Prime subscribers spend more than $1k annually on Amazon compared to 8% of non-Prime members. Prime members also spend nearly five times more on the site than non-Prime members. They are Amazon’s spendiest, loyal shoppers.

Publishers are able to offer Prime subscribers a discount, thus adding further value to Prime users. The price model means Amazon will take 30% of sales in the first year. After that, Amazon’s commission decreases to 15%.

Some big names are already available on Subscribe with Amazon such as The Wall Street Journal, Chicago Tribune and The New Yorker. And online providers are getting in on the act too. Dropbox is onboard and Fitbit’s fitness classes Fitstar are available already. Expect more to follow. But right now this looks like a US proposition.

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