Apple is following the playbook: get one big publisher on board and the rest will eventually follow.
According to a new report from the New York Times, Apple has signed up the Wall Street Journal to its upcoming subscription news service, which is likely to be announced next week. It’s not certain what prompted the decision, although Apple’s pitch has reportedly centred on giving publications access to millions of new readers.
Apple hasn’t said anything about which publishers have signed onto the service so far, but previous reports have suggested the iPhone maker has struggled to attract interest from some of the most prominent media organizations. Both The New York Times and The Washington Post have reportedly decided to opt-out of the new subscription service.
“Other major publishers, including The New York Times and The Washington Post, have opted out of joining the subscription service, said the people, who requested anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly about the plans,” reads the report.
That’s because Apple is supposedly playing hardball when it comes to splitting revenue. The Cupertino-based firm has apparently insisted that it will keep 50 percent of all the profits from its subscriptions, with the other half going to the publishers. The company has also refused to hand over important data such as the credit card details and email addresses of subscribers to the publishers.
Another concern for some publishers is that Apple’s news service could reduce their own subscription sales. The Times and the Post, for example, both sell paid content and do not need to share that revenue with anyone, but they fear that some readers might simply drop those subscriptions in favour of Apple’s service if they were to get onboard.
Apple’s upcoming news subscription service isn’t getting as much press as Apple’s 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.