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Digital

Apple tests publishers with “Netflix for news"

Apple is planning to create its own subscription service for news outlets which has been met with resistance from major publishers.

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Apple purchased Texture in 2018

Apple bought Texture, an app that offers unlimited access to around 200 magazines, in 2018 and now plans to relaunch it as a premium news app, however, it allegedly wants to take 50% of the revenue for itself.

A Bloomberg report says: “Apple is trying to woo newspapers like the Wall Street Journal and New York Times to join Texture and plans to refine its design, which currently creates an image of what magazines look like in print, the people said. The new approach is expected to look more like typical online news articles.”

In a report by the Wall Street Journal, the California company has said it would keep around half of the subscription revenue from the service. The publication goes on to explain that the idea has been met with resistance from publishers who are concerned over the terms of the service.

Apple is attempting to woo a news industry that has grown wary of the influence of big technology companies on their businesses

The report goes on: “Apple is attempting to woo a news industry that has grown wary of the influence of big technology companies on their businesses. Facebook, long a major source of traffic for publishers, has altered its News Feed in ways that contributed to steep audience and revenue declines for some media companies. Alphabet’s Google has faced scrutiny for allowing readers to circumvent digital paywalls, a practice the search giant has since mitigated.”

The New York Times and the Washington Post have been approached by Apple representatives regarding the idea, but are yet to agree to license their content to the service. The Wall Street Journal stated it also has concerns but has been engaged in “productive” conversations with Apple.

Publishers are also concerned about not having access to subscriber data – something that news organisations and publishers use to build their customer database and market products to customers. Apple has also proposed that some publishers supply access to their content for a minimum of a year, according to people close to the matter.

The New York Times and the Washington Post have been approached by Apple representatives regarding the idea, but are yet to agree to license their content to the service

The three news outlets already have content on the Apple News app, which readers can access for free. Through this app, news organisations keep 100% of the revenue from adverts they sell for these articles, and they keep 70% of revenue from adverts that appear alongside the articles they do not sell.

The new proposed app would have access to some of the content currently behind paywalls. The rest of the revenue generated would go into “a pool that would be divided among publishers according to the amount of time users spend engaged with their articles.”

It has been proposed that the new service, dubbed the “Netflix of news” by industry executives, should cost users around £10 a month, similar to Apple’s Music service.

Buzzfeed reported that Apple is planning to launch the new services at an “subscription-services focused” event on March 25th.

The news of Apple’s upcoming news service comes at a time where a huge number of jobs have been lost in the digital journalism sector.

Are subscription-based models the future of digital journalism? Email summer@linkpublishing.co.uk or join in the conversation on Twitter.


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