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It looks like Apple’s News service is going mainstream, with the company announcing a new collaboration with ABC News that could make it the go-to source of information on the 2020 presidential election.
According to Apple, the company’s news service, which is available on the iPhone, iPad, and Mac platforms, will be collaborating with ABC News to provide up-to-the-minute coverage of key events throughout the 2020 presidential election, beginning in February and continuing through to the 2021 presidential inauguration.
Specifically, Apple News will feature ABC News videos and live-streaming coverage starting with the New Hampshire Democratic primary debate on February 7, 2020, and continuing on through the entire election process, while also including FiveThirtyEight polling data, infographics, and analysis during other key moments, extending through Super Tuesday, both the Republican and Democratic National Conventions, the general election debates, election night itself, and finally, the presidential inauguration held in January 2021.
For the February 7th debate, which is the first one held after primary voting begins, Apple will be partnering with ABC News and WMUR-TV to provide live-streaming of the debate right in the Apple News app, marking the first time live video has been directly presented in the app, which traditionally focuses on print media.
Access to quality news and trusted information is always important, and never more so than in an election year. We’re proud to partner with ABC News to present the millions of people who use Apple News each day with dynamic live coverage and responsible analysis during the major news moments of the 2020 election.Lauren Kern, Apple News editor-in-chief
While the motivation for the partnership from Apple’s side is fairly obvious, ABC News president James Goldston sees it as a way to extend the reach of his news organization to “millions more people” in order to help voters have a “deeper understanding of the key issues, candidates and events,” as well as providing access to ABC News’ coverage across a much wider variety of platforms, anywhere and anytime.
ABC News is recognized as one of the leading sources for political journalism, having won four Edward R. Murrow Awards this year and also hosting the most watched debate of the 2020 presidential cycle thus far, drawing 12.9 million viewers and 11 million online views in September 2019.
It’s Not News+
What’s worth mentioning here is that this has nothing directly to do with Apple’s paid subscription news service, Apple News+. The ABC News coverage will be available to all iPhone, iPad, and Mac users for free in the News app, regardless of whether they’re paying for a $10 monthly Apple News+ subscription or not.
While Apple News+ has confused things a bit, the same free tier of the Apple News service that was introduced in 2015 continues to exist, providing access to hundreds of news publications, and now to ABC News’ election coverage as well. Apple News+, which costs $10/month, enhances the free offering by providing access to a handful of otherwise-paid premium news sources like The Wall Street Journal and the Los Angeles Times, along with over 200 magazine subscriptions.
According to recent reports, Apple News+ has been having a hard time gaining traction, however many users still consume news through the free Apple News app that’s preinstalled on every iPhone, iPad, and Mac — there’s just doesn’t seem to be a lot of motivation to pay for the premium access that News+ offers. Of course, it’s likely Apple may be hoping for some kind of “halo effect” that may drive more subscribers to the paid service, but Apple also benefits from keeping as many eyeballs on its own News service — which is also exclusive to its own devices — as it can, as opposed to ceding them to other competing services like Google News and Facebook.