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As clicks dry up on news sites, could Apple News be a lifeline?

The free version of Apple News is one of the largest news platforms in the world. It is the most used news app in the United States, United Kingdom, Canada and Australia, and had over 125 million monthly users in 2020. News+ subscription was launched in 2019 after the company acquired startup Texture, which had promised a service like a “Netflix of magazines.” This investment represented Apple’s deepening business relationship with news publishers, a relationship that began with a high-profile ad partnership with the Wall Street Journal (despite the Journal’s parent company’s skepticism toward technological platforms).

Apple News+ charges users $12.99 per month for a bundled subscription to premium magazine and newspaper articles, featuring constantly updated articles delivered from America’s leading news sites and magazines, including The New Yorker, The Atlantic, Washington Post, BBC and LA Times. , and hundreds of others.

Apple News+ began rapidly expanding its partnerships over the past two years, adding dozens of local and regional newspapers, including the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Austin American-Statesman, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and the Tennessean, among others . The company licenses articles behind publishers’ paywalls and pays them monthly based on the time the audience spends on each article. Publishers can also sell advertising on their content in Apple News, as well as distribute product recommendations and reviews, keeping 100% of the affiliate link revenue they generate.

Apple declined to comment on the number of people subscribed to News+.

Many publishers have taken a hands-off approach to Apple, viewing the partnership as a bonus of sorts.

Slate President Charlie Kammerer said he sees Apple as a discovery platform for people who might otherwise be unfamiliar with the publication’s content, showing them clickable advice columns and long reads.

“We’re really focused on how to retain our audience on and off platform, and it’s working well,” he said in an email. “As we continue to grow our membership business within our Slate ecosystem, we’re also looking to partners like Apple News+ as a discovery – and perhaps rediscovery – tool for people to find Slate content where they lie and pay for it.

He added: “It’s encouraging to see that the type of high-quality, in-depth journalism that is important to Slate and our audiences is performing well on Apple News+. They created a product that was attractive to both readers and publishers, and it became a nice source of additional revenue for us.

But for other media, the partnership with Apple goes much further and has begun to influence content decisions. Through its Spotlight program, the company solicits and commissions specific articles on particular current events, such as major holidays and anniversaries. Noah Shachtman, the former editor-in-chief of Rolling Stone, told Semafor that Apple also paid extra to commission art and audio segments for the magazine’s articles.

In an interview last week, CEO Neil Vogel told Semafor that Dotdash Meredith has teams at several publications creating content specifically and exclusively for Apple News+, which Apple then promotes.

“It’s another outlet for our brands and our content,” Vogel said. “We have a relationship with them that we think is super fair on both sides. And it’s been really positive.

News Source : www.semafor.com
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