Publishers are reportedly upset at Apple over the News+ app, and with good reason

Publishers are reportedly upset at Apple over the News+ app, and with good reason
In March of last year, Apple bought Texture, the company whose app was called "the Netflix of magazines." For $9.99 a month, users could read from a library of 200 magazines. The next month, Apple's plans had already leaked. There was talk that the company would merge Texture with its News app to create a subscription service. And this past March, with a big fanfare, Apple introduced its News+ subscription service. For $9.99 a month (that seems to be a favored price point for many subscription services), subscribers can browse online through over 300 publications.

While the free Apple News app remains, and is number one in its class with over 5 billion articles perused each month, the News+ service gives iOS users access to premium sites some of which they would normally have to pay much more to read. This includes papers like The Wall Street Journal and the Los Angeles Times, although only some of the Journal's content is available. Sounds good, but according to Business Insiders (via 9to5Mac), publishers are not exactly enthralled by the results they are seeing from News+. Apple had apparently showed projections to publishers showing that they would receive 10 times the revenue during the first year of Apple News+ compared to what they were getting with Texture;  this hasn't proved to be the case. One magazine publisher says that they are receiving revenue that is "one-twentieth of what they said."


Publishers are also reportedly not happy with the design of the app. Because publishers are paid based on the amount of time that readers spend reading a particular publication, they want Apple to come up with a way to encourage subscribers to read more content from their publications. And surprisingly, despite Apple's history of taking great pride in the hardware and software it puts out, some of the publishers are calling the Apple News+ app "unfinished," with one saying "I don’t think they’re putting their full effort behind it."

Apple hopes to hit $50 billion in Services revenue by next year


The report says that Apple has been telling publishers that it is working on making the app more intuitive for subscribers while trying to fix the issues that they are bringing up. Eddy Cue, who has the title of senior vice president of Internet Software and Services at Apple, says that there are hundreds of people working to improve the experience for both publishers and users.

Apple News+ is one of a number of subscription offerings that Apple is pushing to its active users. The company actually made a good business decision a few years ago to double the revenue generated by its Services unit from $25 billion in 2016 to $50 billion by 2020. The idea is that if iPhone sales are going to slow (which they have since peaking in 2015), the large number of active users can bring in some bucks by paying monthly for subscriptions. The Services unit is Apple's second largest division and is it's most profitable. It includes News+, Apple TV+, Apple Arcade (starting this fall), Apple Music, iTunes, AppleCare, App Store,. iCloud and Apple Pay. For the company's fiscal second quarter (which included January through March), it took in $11.45 billion in services revenue as it hones in on the $50 billion target it hopes to achieve next year.

Right now, Apple News+ is available in the U.S. and Canada only and is expected to launch in the U.K. later this year. This whole idea of paying for news might be a foreign one for many internet users. After all, there are still some large news services that do not hide behind a paywall like the Associated Press and Reuters to name a pair. But Apple is hoping that there are enough iOS users looking for a more analytical take on events that they will fork over the monthly fee to view it on Apple News+.

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18 Comments

1. Vancetastic

Posts: 1328; Member since: May 17, 2017

Too many pies for the fingers, maybe...

4. sgodsell

Posts: 7369; Member since: Mar 16, 2013

Apple instantly removed half of Textures user base by removing all the Android Texture users. Apple's not looking to increase revenue, they are looking for more ways to lock in, and keep the current users that they have.

8. sgodsell

Posts: 7369; Member since: Mar 16, 2013

If the publishers were smart, then they would get together and create their own app. Plus they could make it work on all the platforms they want. They could make a PWA app, which would support all the major platforms in one app. Plus it would easily add more customers to their base, than Apples only platform support. I am sure there is a signed contract for a few years with Apple. So after the contract time is up, then they could all ban together and say see ya later Apple. At the same time announce their own application that would support more platforms and look and feel exactly like the publishers want.

7. blingblingthing

Posts: 963; Member since: Oct 23, 2012

It's amazing to see these Apple fallacies fall apart. The fallacy that Apple designs flawless products can be added to the list.

2. iloveapps

Posts: 855; Member since: Mar 21, 2019

If content of such news aren’t good to readers then they should nit demand a decent income. Its the same as streaming. That’s is why publishers should make the best article to encourage readers and get a good $$$.

3. TheOracle1

Posts: 2280; Member since: May 04, 2015

Wtf are you blabbering about? Write in proper English.

9. Vancetastic

Posts: 1328; Member since: May 17, 2017

I think he’s trying to blame the publishers? It’s some weird trolling thing, I’m sure, but he’s maybe off his meds again.

6. Back_from_beyond

Posts: 1421; Member since: Sep 04, 2015

So following your logic, if you go and see a movie, but you don't end up liking it, you shouldn't have to pay for it either? I think what this really indicates is, that Apple promised something it can't even come close to delivering. If it doesn't improve, publishers will pull their content and the service will bleed out.

5. cmdacos

Posts: 4211; Member since: Nov 01, 2016

They took Textures well established UI and ruined it. Plus nobody gives print media a second thought anymore. Apple has always struggled with bringing top uality services and the fact they ruined Texture is just another page in the story.

10. Leo_MC

Posts: 7432; Member since: Dec 02, 2011

Every news worth reading comes from free sources anyway - Reuters, dw, bbc, euronews, afp, ap. Subscription news comes with editorials, opinions, research, niches articles (sports, science, economy) etc; they are important, but the potential is limited.

12. Vancetastic

Posts: 1328; Member since: May 17, 2017

The point of the article is that Apple over-promised, and under-delivered, but ok.

13. Leo_MC

Posts: 7432; Member since: Dec 02, 2011

“ One magazine publisher” Mkey... What is the name, how different is the traffic, how is the revenue etc? Nothing that would help us understand the phenomenon? Mkey, it’s about “under delivering”. /s

14. Vancetastic

Posts: 1328; Member since: May 17, 2017

Reading is hard, I know.

15. Leo_MC

Posts: 7432; Member since: Dec 02, 2011

This topic is of little interest to me (I get my news from free sources - Twitter being the central hub for them - and a financial publication that is cheaper than the price of A/G/MN).

16. Vancetastic

Posts: 1328; Member since: May 17, 2017

Yet, you commented, in another attempt to “excuse” Apple.

18. Leo_MC

Posts: 7432; Member since: Dec 02, 2011

How am I excusing Apple when I say they launch a service which has little potential to grow?!

11. Blazers

Posts: 745; Member since: Dec 05, 2011

Two words: Drudge Report.

17. Polaris1983

Posts: 33; Member since: May 22, 2019

So much for giving people a cheap easy way to read the news and play games via the cloud. Greed never loses until it dies in blood it seems.

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