Apple is planning to launch its own news subscription service, here’s why

Apple has been one of the top subscription-based service providers lately, and it makes strategic sense to enter the news business space as well.
Apple is planning to launch its own news subscription service, here’s why
Apple is planning to launch its own news subscription service, here’s why
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It’s no surprise that Apple is in the content game and has been for several years now. From being in the music business to eventually producing original content, it’s been innovating for a long time. From hardware to software, Apple is entering multiple domains where it sees scope of growth. It’s not leaving any space for chance or competition and has entered the magazine and news space as well. It acquired Texture (Next Issue Media) to strengthen it’s understanding and market approach for magazine, news and other content. 

“We are committed to quality journalism from trusted sources and allowing magazines to keep producing beautifully designed and engaging stories for users,” said Eddy Cue, SVP Internet software, Apple.

Apple is aiming to start its own news subscription service, so that it can enter the news consumption and dissemination space. With Google recently revamping the way that it presents news to iPhone users, Apple wants to push harder in the space. They used to have an older app interface with Apple News being the dominant feature, but they’re seeing the value in having a premium news content subscription model. 

The existing model of digital news consists of having multiple subscriptions distributed across a wide range of subjects, which consumers can choose from. You might draw similarities here to the music industry, where consumers would buy multiple singles or albums from various artists. This is regardless of where they purchase it from, whether that be Apple Music or directly from the artist’s websites. 

This is key here, as Apple’s CEO Tim Cook has been a vocal advocate against fake news. With more emphasis given towards genuine publishing and premium subscriptions, it’s a natural move for Apple to continue onwards with their approach. 

Texture, which Apple recently acquired, was termed the “Netflix of News and Magazines” because of its user-friendly interface and content diversification in the space. With a single membership fee, similar to most new-age streaming sites, you could have access to a host of published content and magazines. Consumers have convenience, range and an incentive to keep their subscriptions. Otherwise, the model flips over when consumers don’t want to keep their monthly payments going. 

Apple is trying to change that model in its favour. Having mastered the art of music through Apple music, and other streaming services that it charges through its own servers, Apple has set its sights on news. News is still an industry where no major player has been able to get their hands on completely. There have been myriad aggregators and distributors who have offered consumers a simpler model of subscribing to their favourite magazines for a fee. 

Larger players haven’t been able to control the access to news, while only having acquired a few companies here and there. After Amazon acquired The Washington Post for upwards of $250 million, the 140-year old company was suddenly infused with new life. There was significant merit in the publishing space, especially with respected brand names that had long-standing reputation. 

That’s what Apple wants in the digital space. In the coming months, it’s planning to launch a new form of news consumption service model, which would require a monthly fee and give access to all publishing sites under that model. Ad-free experiences will be another driver for many Apple consumers who can gain access to some of the leading sites under the single model. 

While Google might be focusing on news as an ad-supported model, Apple might be focusing more on the subscription model, which it has mastered over the years. While many players might be aiming to provide access to the most amount of news and subscriptions possible, Apple is moving towards filtering down for quality. It even wants to focus on promoting quality content and articles. It’s rumoured to have been shifting a few employees around and hiring new ones to become dedicated political editors and news writers on its staff. 

"We're all in. There's a difference though- we're not after quantity, we're after quality,” said Eddy Cue.

Apple has also been in talks to acquire Conde Nast, but nothing final has been signed yet. Right now, Apple is in a Blue Ocean with no competition in the digital media space and plenty of experience in the subscription-model business. 

While Google can pitch itself as an advertisers’ haven, Apple is aiming to excel in a direct-to-consumer model. Google is also entering into Apple’s music business with their YouTube Music app subscription model, however much like YouTube Red, it may not see scaled success. 

Apple has been one of the top subscription-based service providers lately, and it’s a perfect strategic decision to enter the news business space as well. 

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