Over the past several months, Apple has been asking the publishers participating in its year-old Apple News+ premium program for permission to produce audio versions of the stories distributed there, Digiday reports, citing “sources at four different publishers that have heard the pitch.”
Apple will handle production costs, and compensate publishers in the same way it compensates them for the written content available on Apple News+, two sources said; Apple metes out 50% of subscriber revenue to publishers based on how much time those subscribers spend with publishers’ content in a 30-day period.
Even with Apple handling most of the heavy lifting, several publishers regard the plans skeptically, three sources said. One said it has not seen evidence that Apple News’s audience will want to listen to audio versions of their stories. A second worried that if Apple emphasizes audio for News+, it could further skew the picture of who gets compensated: Listening to a story, after all, takes longer than reading one.
Apple has not publicly shared any information about subscriber growth for Apple News+ since it announced that it had added 200,000 subscribers 48 hours into its launch.
MacDailyNews Take: Apple News+ would benefit more from being part of an attractive bundle of Apple services than anything else, but would you like Apple News+ more or be willing to subscribe to the service if it offered audio versions?