March 28, 2019 | Shaun Bremner
This week Apple caused a stir within the publishing sector by launching Apple News+ – a $9.99 premium Apple News tier. The new subscription service allows readers to pay a monthly subscription to gain access to a library of newspapers such as the Wall Street Journal and more than 200 magazines.
The demonstration from Tim Cook looked slick with magazines getting the majority of the focus. Some of the magazines featured Live Covers made from animated images instead of static photos for the magazine’s front cover. Inside the digital magazine’s pages, readers can view a table of contents, swipe through a mix of designed pages filled with text, replica content, photos and infographic content, and more. The experience looks very much like Texture’s magazine platform.
Apple first showed its interest in entering the newspaper and magazine subscription service after purchasing digital newsstand Texture in 2018. The announcement of News+ has split publishers’ opinions with top publishers such as The New York Times and The Washington Post choosing not to participate but The Wall Street Journal has launched on the platform.
Publishers must first establish what they want to achieve with this new platform as it is likely to be a small revenue stream for them. Yes, the new platform opens new audiences for publishers however, it also puts your content directly next to your competitors via the ‘recommended posts’ from your competitors at the bottom of every article.
Then there’s the cost, when Tim Cook took the stage, he promoted the platform by saying “For the low, low cost of $10 a month, you’re getting quite a value: you’d have to pay $8,000 to subscribe.” Which is a great deal for the reader but not so great for the individual publisher…
Previous platforms such as Apple News, Readly, Facebook Instant articles all offer a similar service but are still yet to convince publishers the same way Netflix has transformed the entertainment industry.
Publishers still need to understand that if they want real digital revenues, they need to invest in their own brand. Apple has already announced that publishers will not receive readers’ email addresses for follow-up marketing, cookies for ad targeting and content personalization, or their credit card info. Combined this offering doesn’t seem as appealing for publishers looking to grow digital revenues…
Beyond the new subscription’s services, Apple is also creating an Apple Card which will work with the wallet app. Inside the wallet app, you will be able to see your recent transactions, how much you owe and how much money you spent on each individual category. Which is set to revolutionise the banking industry.
What are your thoughts on the latest announcements from Apple? Are publishers getting a fair deal? Leave us a comment…