While the New York Times CEO is warning publishers to steer clear of Apple’s News service, the Wall Street Journal appears to be much more enthusiastic in embracing the new service, which is expected to be announced at Apple’s media event later today.
In a report over the weekend, The Wall Street Journal confirmed earlier reports that it will be on board with Apple’s new premium news publishing service, while also offering some additional insights on what the new service will look like.
According to the Journal, Apple will show a revamped News app that will include a $9.99/month premium subscription tier providing access to over 200 magazines, including Bon Appétit, People, and Glamour — and a several newspapers. While we know the list will include The Wall Street Journal, but not The New York Times or The Washington Post, it’s likely many smaller papers will be more eager to participate as well.
The Journal also adds that “much” of its content will be available through the service, with stories like general, news, politics, and lifestyle being showcased in the News app, while business and finance news will take a back seat. Since the Journal still sells its own subscriptions for $39/month, there may still be some premium content that could be held exclusively for its own subscribers, although the report doesn’t elaborate on that.
Notably, the Journal says that due to its deal with Apple, it actually plans to hire more reports focused on general news “to help feed Apple’s product.” One of Apple’s selling points to attract news publishers to its service has been the increased exposure that Apple can provide beyond the papers’ own core subscriber base. The Journal appears to be ramping up to embrace this wider reach by ensuring that it can keep up with increasing demand for general news and maintain a prominent place on Apple’s News dashboard.
While Apple has struggled to get big news publishers on board, the WSJ’s participation should certainly represent a coup for the new service. On the other hand, the inclusion of magazines to Apple’s service was basically a given after Apple acquired Texture last year, and with it gained rights to most major North American magazines for terms ranging from five years to two decades. Magazine publishers had eagerly embraced Texture many years earlier, and with its much stronger marketing engine and wider reach, Apple’s acquisition of the service has only promised to make it stronger and better for them.
The willingness of the Wall Street Journal to join Apple’s News initiative comes in stark contrast to the position of The New York Times and The Washington Post, which have not only expressed displeasure with the terms Apple is offering, but also fear that an Apple News service will cannibalize their own subscribers and dilute their brands. Ironically, however, the Wall Street Journal should have the most to fear in the case, since its $39/month subscription provides existing subscribers with considerably more incentive to jump ship in favour of Apple’s $10 “all-you-can-read” plan. By contrast, the Times and the Post charge $15 and $10 per month, respectively.
While Apple plans to unveil its news service later today, it’s also still unclear exactly when it will open up to subscribers, and whether it will launch outside of the U.S. Apple News itself is still only officially available in three countries — the U.S., Australia, and the U.K. — although it is also expected to officially launch in Canada with the release of iOS 12.2 today, after having been available for the past several weeks in beta. Whether Apple’s paid subscriptions will also come to Australia, Canada, and the U.K. is still an open question, although with news and magazines not traditionally being restricted by international licensing restrictions, it certainly seems plausible.