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As clicks dry up for news sites, could Apple’s news app be a lifeline? | Semafor

🌈 Abstract

The article discusses the free version of Apple News, one of the biggest news platforms in the world, and its subscription service Apple News+. It covers the growth and partnerships of Apple News+, as well as how publishers view their relationship with the platform.

🙋 Q&A

[01] Apple News and Apple News+

1. What are the key features of the free version of Apple News and the Apple News+ subscription service?

  • The free version of Apple News is one of the biggest news platforms in the world, with over 125 million monthly users in 2020.
  • Apple News+ is a subscription service that launched in 2019, offering access to articles from premium magazines and newspapers for $12.99 per month.
  • Apple News+ features constantly updating stories syndicated from major American news sites and magazines, including The New Yorker, The Atlantic, the Washington Post, the BBC, the LA Times, and hundreds of others.
  • Apple News+ has rapidly increased its partnerships over the past two years, adding dozens of local and regional newspapers.
  • Apple News+ licenses articles from behind publishers' paywalls and pays them monthly based partially on time audiences spend on each piece.
  • Publishers can sell advertising on their content in Apple News+ and keep 100% of any affiliate link revenue they generate.

2. How do publishers view their partnership with Apple News+?

  • Many publishers have taken a "hands-off" approach to Apple, treating the partnership as a kind of bonus.
  • Some publishers, like Slate, view Apple News+ as a discovery platform that can help introduce their content to new readers.
  • For other outlets, the partnership with Apple goes much deeper and has begun driving content decisions.
  • Apple's Spotlight program solicits and commissions specific pieces around particular news events, and the company has also paid extra to commission art and audio segments for articles.
  • Some publishers, like Dotdash Meredith, have teams creating content specifically and exclusively for Apple News+, which Apple then promotes.

[02] Publisher Perspectives on Apple News+

1. How does Slate view its partnership with Apple News+?

  • Slate President Charlie Kammerer sees Apple News+ as a "discovery—and perhaps rediscovery tool—for people to find Slate content where they are, and pay for it."
  • Kammerer says Slate is focused on building loyalty with its audience both on and off the platform, and the partnership with Apple News+ is "working well" as an additional revenue stream.
  • Kammerer notes that the "high quality, in-depth journalism" that is important to Slate and its audience is "working well on Apple News+."

2. How does Dotdash Meredith view its partnership with Apple News+?

  • Dotdash Meredith CEO Neil Vogel says the company has teams at multiple publications creating content specifically and exclusively for Apple News+, which Apple then promotes.
  • Vogel describes the relationship with Apple as "super fair in both directions" and "really positive."
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