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Quick Take – Apple News+, The Biggest News App is About to get Much Bigger

March 25, 2019

Apple revised its free Apple News App and announced their $10 a month Apple News+ service today. Aside from a new logo and lots of new News+ content, it is a pretty light look and feel update. However, there is nothing light about the implications for media companies so we will draw some real-time business conclusions.

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Strong value for consumers. Apple News+ includes two hard news newspapers (WSJ and LA Times), six premium web content subscriptions (The Skim, The Highlight by Vox, Vulture, Grub Hub, The Cut, TechCrunch) and 300 magazines for $10 a month. That subscription can be shared with six family members on all of their devices. Apple claims that is $8,000 a year in value. Of course, no-one buys it all, but no one listens to every song on Spotify/Apple Music either and they revolutionized music consumption.

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Data-based advertising is not going to happen. Tim Cook used Apple News’ privacy by design as a major sales point, “We don’t know what you read and we don’t allow advertisers to track you.”

Increased pressure on subscription prices. You had really better love the NYT and/or Wapo if you are going to pay a premium for each over Apple News+. WSJ might feel some churn – why pay $40 a month when you can get it for $2 a month on Apple News? The pricing feels like 99 cent songs on iTunes back when CDs were $16.

New advertising opportunities (?). The biggest change that I noticed when reviewing News+ is much, much more advertising. You used to have to hunt for ads on Apple News. I counted five in singe WSJ story.

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This could be good for society. Citizens getting their news from the social networks has issues. A clean, well-lighted (yet private), place like Apple News – much better.

The biggest news App is about to get much bigger. Apple News is the default news App on the world’s biggest platform. It is easy to find, easy to use, and easy to buy. Easy wins. Add in a strong value proposition for the content people need/want, and look out.

Publishers better get on board. If you are a publisher, there are some huge plusses and minus. But at the end of the day, only Taylor Swift can boycott Spotify (and she ultimately joined). Everyone else needs the exposure and revenue.

 

 

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