U.S. News Giants Opt Out of Apple News Service

Posted on March 21, 2019 by Paul Thurrott in Apple, Cloud with 56 Comments

The Wall Street Journal will be joining Apple’s coming news subscription service, but The New York Times and Washington Post are out.

That’s according to a new report in The New York Times that cites several sources who were not authorized to speak publicly about the plans.

Apple’s coming news subscription service isn’t getting as much press as Apple’s coming video subscription service, but both are expected to be announced, if not launched, next Monday, on March 25. It’s been described as a “Netflix for news,” because every subscription service must now be called the Netflix for something, and will be offered as a paid tier to Apple’s News app, which is available now only in iOS and on the Mac.

Which raises an interesting point: Will Apple port its News app to Windows, the web, and Android, making it universally available? Or will it continue to offer it only to those in its insular ecosystem?

Controversially, Apple is offering news publishers a risky deal that greatly increases Apple’s share of revenues: It is asking for 50 percent of all Apple News-based revenues, a big jump over the 30 percent that it demands from other in-app payments. The subscription is expected to cost consumers $10 per month, so $5 would go to Apple and $5 would be split between publishers, probably based on views.

Apple will also hide customer data from news publishers, as it does now with customer data from iOS and Mac Store apps: Those customers are Apple’s customers, not the app maker’s (or news publisher’s) customers. That means that publishers won’t be able to interact directly with those who read their publications, whereas they routinely do so when there is a direct relationship.

These two factors are probably the driving force behind The New York Times and Washington Post rejecting Apple’s overtures. But that could change if the paid version of Apple News succeeds somehow.

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