“On the evening of Wednesday, March 27, a few dozen magazine and digital-media notables gathered in a capacious loft in a Civil War-era five-story former mansion in Lower Manhattan,” Joe Pompeo reports for Vanity Fair. “Two days earlier, Apple had lifted the veil on its much-ballyhooed media strategy, in a star-studded dog and pony show held at the company’s 2.8 million-square-foot Cupertino campus. In addition to a Steven Spielberg-approved original programming slate that will compete with the likes of Netflix and Amazon, Apple also introduced Apple News+, a $9.99-a-month reading bundle that gives iOS users access to a pair of major American newspapers (The Wall Street Journal and The Los Angeles Times); a smattering of premium digital brands (including theSkimm, Vox, TechCrunch, Vulture, and The Cut); and magazines (from People and Entertainment Weekly to The New Yorker and Vanity Fair) that were previously packaged through the Netflix-style subscription service Texture, which Apple bought for an undisclosed sum last year.”
“Eddy Cue and other Apple executives worked the room,” Pompeo reports. “But as the guests munched on mini empanadas and potato bites, some of them couldn’t help but wonder if there was a Trojan horse in their midst. As one attendee later joked,’Are we at a party, or a wake?'”
“That more or less sums up the schizophrenic reactions to the launch of Apple News+, which is the latest—and arguably the most consequential—entrant in a series of newfangled platform-publisher experiments ranging from Facebook Instant Articles, to Snapchat Discover, to Google Amp,” Pompeo reports. “[Apple News+ has] two major News+ holdouts: The New York Times and The Washington Post. Apple badly wanted to lock down at least one of them, and it began a vigorous courtship of the papers last spring, not long after the Texture deal closed and Apple’s plans for its content bundle were beginning to materialize, according to people familiar with the matter. ‘They put a tremendous amount of pressure on,” one source said. “Eddy Cue was in and out of their offices really trying to woo them.'”
Read more in the full article here.
MacDailyNews Take: You can easily see why The New York Times and The Washington Post didn’t sign up, but nothing precludes them from jumping aboard if Apple News+ really scales up.
Apple News+ could lead to a massive value destruction for the magazine industry – April 1, 2019
Texture to shut down May 28th; Android users to lose access (unless they upgrade to an Apple device) – March 29, 2019
Apple News+ hands-on: Is it worth $9.99 per month? – March 26, 2019
Apple launches Apple News+ – March 25, 2019