Apple's long-rumored subscription news service is probably what the company plans to unveil at a March 25 event on the Steve Jobs Campus, per reports Tuesday afternoon.
There's one big problem with Apple's plan, the proposed terms of which were leaked on Tuesday morning: Everyone in the news publishing business hates it.
Apple has $245 billion dollars in the bank. https://t.co/CN0d4C24WB
— Kai Ryssdal (@kairyssdal) February 12, 2019
Apple plans to keep about 50% of the $10/month subscription revenue from their yet-to-be-launched 'Netflix for news' service, and they probably won't share valuable user data with publishers.
Sources tell BuzzFeed News that the company plans to hold a special event on March 25 at the Steve Jobs Theater on its Apple Park campus. Headlining the gathering: That subscription news service that has been all over the news today. Unlikely to make an appearance: next generation AirPods, or that rumored new iPad Mini.
Sources described the event as subscription services focused, but declined to say anything about Apple's standalone video streaming service which is also rumored to debut in 2019. Earlier this year, The Information reported that Apple had told studios and networks to prepared for an April launch.
Apple has long held product events in late March, so it's hardly a surprise it has planned another one for 2019. That said, sources said there is a small chance the final date could shift a bit given the level of publisher pushback the company is getting over the revenue sharing terms of the so called "Netflix for news" service it hopes to debut.
Per Bloomberg's report and others that followed earlier today, Apple is planning to take a full 50% of that $10 monthly 'News' subscription fee.
The other half of the monthly fee gets divided up among publishers who participate in the scheme, and the amount is tallied around how many users read which stories.
The rollout is how Apple plans to integrate Texture, the magazine app recently acquired by Apple, into its existing Apple News product.
Excerpt from Bloomberg's original report:
The Cupertino, California company agreed last month to buy Texture, which lets users subscribe to more than 200 magazines for $9.99 a month. Apple cut about 20 Texture staff soon after, according to one of the people.
The world's largest technology company is integrating Texture technology and the remaining employees into its Apple News team, which is building the premium service. An upgraded Apple News app with the subscription offering is expected to launch within the next year, and a slice of the subscription revenue will go to magazine publishers that are part of the program, the people said. They asked not to be identified discussing private plans. Apple declined to comment.
Apple used to have an app called Newsstand that combined several magazines and newspapers, but the publications were only provided on an individual subscription basis. When Apple News started in 2015, it took a similar approach.
A new, simplified subscription service covering multiple publications could spur Apple News usage and generate new revenue in a similar manner to the $9.99 per month Apple Music offering. That streaming service was also built through an acquisition: Apple bought Beats Music and the Beats audio device business in 2014 for $3 billion. At the time, Beats Music had fewer than a million subscribers, and Apple has turned that into more than 40 million paying users.
50% of the revenue, no data to publishers.
Sounds great, for Apple.
For online news publishers, this one, anyway — sounds like Facebook 2012-2016 all over again.
Fool me once…
Some observations from Twitter, below.
All your subscriber base are belong to us. https://t.co/8gXSMAuro7
— M.G. Siegler (@mgsiegler) February 12, 2019
apple's disadvantage here is publishers' history getting burned by Facebook
not to mention large platforms claiming that providing your articles at scale will convert users to more subs
my guess is disintermediating the pub from the consumer (via a platform) hurts conversions
— rat king (@MikeIsaac) February 12, 2019
Leaking 50 makes "compromising" on 30 sound reasonable.
— Paul Haddad (@tapbot_paul) February 12, 2019
Unlikely to make an appearance: next generation Airpods, or that rumored new iPad Mini. https://t.co/Di90axFjMQ
— John Paczkowski (@JohnPaczkowski) February 12, 2019
We want AirPower not disproportionate financial power over the media https://t.co/LYloQK6Nda
— Lucas Matney (@lucasmtny) February 12, 2019
And then some of the resulting profits will be reinvented one day as a generous plutocratic buyout of a media entity gutted by business practices like this. https://t.co/2h4dGzvs6E
— Anand Giridharadas (@AnandWrites) February 12, 2019
Apple charges 30% on the app store and even those developers, who wouldn't exist without Apple, are regularly crying monopoly / highway robbery https://t.co/Xc4naj5iV0
— Christopher Mims ? (@mims) February 12, 2019
Also see our story from December: Apple's 'Netflix for Magazines' Getting a Chilly Reception https://t.co/EtoCN2FUIJ And our story from last April: Apple Is Planning to Launch a News Subscription Service https://t.co/Ho4WyVB6AO https://t.co/37VrRCISUm
— Mark Gurman (@markgurman) February 12, 2019