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Apple announces news media subscription service 

Apple News+ received mixed reception from publishers concerned about revenue, audience relationships  

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Apple has revealed its news media subscription service, Apple News+, as part of a series of product launches at its California event.  

Apple News+ will charge subscribers US$9.99 per month to access around 300 magazines, newspapers and digital news services. Some of the publications that will be included are The New Yorker, Vogue, Rolling StoneThe LA Times and the Wall Street Journal.  

A family sharing feature will allow a household to use one subscription. 

 

The service will expand the existing Apple News service and will use “on-device algorithms to suggest select articles to subscribers.”  


Apple News+ will be made available first in the US and Canada, with plans to roll out the service to Australia and the UK in late 2019. Europe will not have full access until 2021. Apple CEO Tim Cook says the move is in recognition of “the power of journalism” and the impact of news media on readers’ lives.  

“We think Apple News+ is going to be great for customers and great for publishers”

 

According to Variety, “the service allowed users to read magazines “from cover to cover, effectively replicating the layout of the print magazine on digital devices,” access that would cost somewhere in the region of US$8,000 if individual publication subscriptions were purchased.  

 

The New York Times’ CEO Mark Thompson has voiced concerns about whether publishers will be adequately paid for content that Apple will ultimately profit from distributing. The Times will not have content available through News+.  

In contrast, NewsCorp CEO Robert Thomson welcomed the News+ announcement, saying the inclusion of premium news brands such as The Wall Street Journal is a “profound example of a technology company treating journalism and other premium content in a manner that benefits News Corp and the societies in which we operate”. 

A spokesperson for Australia’s Nine, which owns The Sydney Morning Herald, The Age and other mastheads, said, “We will look to understand more of the practical details on Apple News+ and whether it would serve to grow our audiences and our existing subscription businesses.”

“Ultimately the value proposition must recognise the value and investment we make in Australian journalism.” 

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