As reported by Bloomberg, Apple is set to relaunch its Texture acquisition as a paid news and magazine subscription service, likely built into the Apple News app, as soon as spring 2019.
Just like Apple Music, subscribers would pay a single monthly fee to Apple to unlock access to the library. However, the report notes that publishers are concerned that revenues from the Apple service may not be able to match what they could get on their own, in addition to ceding customer control to Apple.
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Apple has asserted its intentions to double its 2016 Services business revenue by 2020, and it is already on track to meet that target with growing App Store revenue, Apple Music, iCloud and more.
On the horizon, Apple is set to launch an array of original content television shows in 2019 which is expected to form the basis of some kind of new video subscription offering. The premium news/magazine service is a similar concept, but for print publications.
Bloomberg says Texture had about 200,000 subscribers when Apple acquired them in March, with subscribers paying about $10 per month. Before being acquired, Texture would pay out to publishers based on how much time a reader spends with their content. It’s not clear if Apple intends to keep that revenue sharing arrangement when it relaunches the new service.
The Bloomberg report indicates that newspaper executives are concerned that subscribers would simply abandon the current online offerings and only pay for the Apple service, slashing revenues per customer. It seems unlikely that customers would pay twice, direct on the newspaper website and through the News app.
It is the job of Eddy Cue’s negotiating team to convince publishers that Apple would send far greater volumes of customers as a counterbalance to the drop in revenue-per-customer.
When the iPad launched in 2010, it was heralded as the savior of publishing. This didn’t really transpire, particularly given the fact Apple offered little support for magazines and newspapers on iOS aside from supporting renewable In-App Purchases functionality through the App Store.
The Texture acquisition signals a much more holistic and integrated approach is in the offing.