What’s Happening?

In case you missed it, on March 25th Apple News+ was released on the Apple News app. This new service added over 300 magazines to the existing app. This follows Apple’s purchase of Texture last year, which is a service that offers unlimited digital access to over 200 magazines. Apple’s updated app has elements of Texture as well as other existing subscription services like Netflix, Spotify, and Apple Music for its structure. The company is charging $9.99 per month for access to all publications on Apple News+. Apple will be keeping 50 percent of the revenue, with the rest being divided among the various publications depending on the amount of time users spend engaged with their articles. Some of the publications included are The Wall Street Journal, National Geographic, Esquire, and The New Yorker.

What People Like About Apple News+

For some publishers, they are excited about and hopeful of the new platform because of the large number of subscribers it will be able to attain. Larger amounts of subscribers means a better opportunity for some publishers’ content to be exposed to more consumers and lead to an increase in revenue. Many magazine publishers are still struggling to monetize their online content. The hope is that a smaller percentage of revenue from a larger percentage of customers will incur profits for their brands.

What People Are Nervous About

Larger publications that are successfully bringing in a large amount of digital revenue, like the New York Times and the Post, are skeptical of the news sharing app and refuse to sign on. The fear lies behind the idea of losing control of their own publications. Though at first Apple will be relying on their publication partners to attract consumers to the service, as the subscriber base grows, individual publications’ powers will diminish. The more users, and therefore the more revenue the company will make, the more likely the model will shift. Similar to what Netflix has done, Apple could very easily start publishing original content, becoming less reliant on the publishers. In that case, the current publishing partners could easily become dependent on the Apple News+ platform.

What Publishers Should Keep Top-of-Mind

A bigger threat than just relying on the app to distribute publishers’ content is the loss of customer data that will result in the partnership. One of the most valuable and monetizable areas for publishers is the first-party data that they have available from their customers and subscribers. We’ve drawn attention to how valuable that data is, especially as legislation continues to change to protect consumer information and privacy. Relying on Apple News+ to grow revenue is worrisome because publishers are forfeiting their subscriber data on top of losing a large chunk of their subscription revenue.


Photo by Medhat Dawoud on Unsplash