November 18, 2019
According to sources, Apple, in a bid to gain more subscribers, plans to bundle its paid Internet services, including Apple News+, Apple TV+ and Apple Music, as early as 2020. Apple included a proviso in its recently inked media deals that allows it to bundle the News+ service with other paid digital content. Debuted in March, Apple News+ is a $10 per month subscription service that provides access to many publications, splitting the revenue in half with the newspaper and magazine publishers. The Apple TV+ streaming video service launched earlier this month.
Bloomberg reports that according to sources, if Apple were to sell Apple News+ bundled with the other two services, “publishers would get less money because the cost of the news service would likely be reduced.” Already, some media execs have indicated that the amount they earn from Apple News+ “so far has been less than expected,” such as one publisher who “typically gets under $20,000 a month, less revenue than it saw from Texture, a previous iteration of the service that Apple acquired last year.”
Bloomberg notes that “it remains unclear whether publishers are seeing less revenue than they expected because Apple News+ has few subscribers, or because their content isn’t being widely read.” Apple has not revealed subscription numbers for the service, which has recently been expanded to the U.K. and Australia.
Sources also revealed that “advertisers have been less interested in Apple News+ because Apple’s restrictive data policy makes it difficult for marketers to target specific readers.” Publishers, some of who want Apple to share subscriber email addresses to help sell other titles, have the “right to pull their magazines or newspapers from Apple News+ after a year if they’re unhappy with the service.”
Fearing that readers would “cancel existing subscriptions and get their articles at a cheaper price from Apple,” some publishers didn’t make all their content available on Apple News+ and others, including The New York Times and Washington Post, never signed up.
Still, Los Angeles Times executive editor Norman Pearlstine said the service’s “financial results to date are consistent with our expectations.” “We are optimistic that they will continue to grow in the months and years ahead,” he added.