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“Apple News does not align with our strategy to fund quality journalism by building direct relationships with paying readers,” a New York Times spokesperson told FOX Business in a statement. “We believe quality publishers should be fairly compensated for the expensive proposition of creating and providing platforms valuable independent journalism. We’re confident we’ll continue to have strong partnerships with Apple through a variety of other products.”
Apple News launched as a free news curator in 2015. Then last year, it launched News Plus, which costs $10 a month and gives subscribers access to content by a wide array of newspapers and magazines.
“The New York Times has only offered Apple News a few stories per day,” Apple told FOX Business in a statement. “We are committed to providing the more than 125 million people who use Apple News with the most trusted information and will continue to do so through our collaboration with thousands of publishers, including The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, the Houston Chronicle, the Miami Herald, and the San Francisco Chronicle, and we will continue to add great new outlets for readers.”
The New York Times made it clear from the beginning that third-party distribution, like what is offered by Apple News, could be problematic for publishers.
“We tend to be quite leery about the idea of almost habituating people to find our journalism somewhere else,” Mark Thompson, CEO of the New York Times Company, told Reuters last year. “We’re also generically worried about our journalism being scrambled in a kind of Magimix (blender) with everyone else’s journalism.”
The decision to ditch Apple News Plus could also be indicative of the newspaper’s confidence in its ability to grow its own base of digital subscribers. The New York Times reported 587,000 new digital subscriptions in the first quarter of 2020, bringing it to an all-time high of more than five million digital subscribers. A subscription to its core news service costs $17 a month.
Other publishers have also reportedly bristled at the financial terms for Apple News Plus. The Wall Street Journal first reported last year that half of the $10 subscription goes to Apple, while the other half is divvied up among partnered publishers based on viewership within the app.
Apple doesn’t make public how many subscribers its Apple News Plus service has, but its free offering currently has 125 million users.