Tuesday, 11 September 2018 10:12

Apple looking to get into the news business: report Featured

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Apple looking to get into the news business: report Pixabay

Apple appears to be looking to start its own news service, using as the base a magazine app known as Texture which the company purchased in March.

A report in the tech site Recode said Apple executives had approached the big three mainstream American newspapers — The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and the Washington Post — about joining up.

Apple has been increasing its presence in other media too, spending about US$1 billion to generate a slew of television programs that it has said it plans to start screening in 2019.

Right now, Texture charges users US$10 a month and allows them to read all that they want. The report said it was not clear whether Apple wanted to include the stories from the three newspapers in the existing service, or create a new one.

The news of Apple's interest in being a news vendor coincides with Google coming under fire for its efforts in the news business, which are said to have hurt existing media businesses rather than help them.

As iTWire reported, on Monday, News Corporation, in a submission to the Australian competition watchdog's digital platforms inquiry, rubbished a Google-funded report that claims news aggregators - like the search engine firm - can help struggling publishers by easing some of the negative consequences of digital disruption.

Facebook, too, has failed to inspire confidence among news publishers, changing its approach more times that the climate.

The Recode report said the three newspapers could well be reluctant to join Apple's Texture, given that they have well-established digital operations of their own which bring in a decent amount of revenue.

The NYT charges US$15 for a basic digital monthly subscription, the WSJ is much higher at US$37, while the Post is the cheapest at US$10.

Another reason why publishers could baulk at joining up is that being part of a bundle of publications was less attractive to a reader than a direct relationship. And Apple could easily drop any one publisher if its offering did not prove to be attractive to its clients.

But the fact that Apple has about 1.3 billion active devices and has shown the ability to turn hardware customers into digital subscribers could be factors in Apple's favour. The NYT had about 2.9 million digital subscribers in 2016.

Subscriptions to the Post and the WSj are already sold from Apple's built-in news distribution app and all three newspapers channel some of their content through the app.

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Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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