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Apple is partnering with news outlets and publishers to get exclusive video content for its Apple News platform, according to a new report.
One of the first major deals Apple has established through the endeavor is a partnership with BuzzFeed News, Digiday reported. Last month, the outlet published a documentary series, “Future History: 1968,” exclusively on Apple News for a week before rolling it out to other platforms.
“Apple has become so serious about competing with Facebook, Google/YouTube and Twitter as a distribution outlet for news publishers that it’s paying publishers to unveil shows on Apple News first,” Digiday reporter Tim Peterson wrote.
The first three episodes of the docu-series were launched on Apple News on April 21. It rolled out to YouTube, Facebook Watch and Twitter on April 28.
Apple News highlighted “Future History: 1968” in video galleries over that weekend, and the series was also included in push notifications to users who were subscribed to BuzzFeed News.
According to BuzzFeed’s head of development, Roxanne Emadi, the series received “several hundreds of thousands” of views during its exclusive week on Apple News.
The documentary series focuses on historical events that took place in 1968, but views them through a modern lens. Conversations between important figures, like Martin Luther King Jr and his wife, are shown in a text message thread, for example.
The Apple News platform has been known to drive quite a bit of traffic to publishers’ content, but many media outlets remain skeptical of its sustainability due to limited revenue and issues with placing advertising.
Still, Apple might have a number of changes in store for the News app — including a new plan to let content publishers use the ad platforms they already do on their primary websites.
In addition, Apple recently acquired a subscription-based news service called Texture — which worked basically like a “Netflix” for popular magazines. That move hints that the Cupertino tech giant might be considering subscription plans for longer-form or magazine content on Apple News.
Apple is also planning on cutting off Microsoft Windows support for the Texture app within the next couple of months. While that may hint at its future plans for the platform (such as tighter integration with the Apple ecosystem), it may also have been due to low reviews and a lack of updates on the Windows app store, The Verge points out.
As more evidence of Apple’s increasing focus on revamping the platform, the company hired a former New York Magazine editor, Lauren Kern, to serve as the chief of Apple News’ editorial team last year. The company has also been pushing for publications to distribute higher-quality and longer-form content on the app.
Currently, the full Apple News app is only available in the U.S., the U.K. and Australia.