Dec 13, 2018

Apple courts nervous publishers for new Apple News bundle

Illustration: Rebecca Zisser / Axios

Apple has been rallying publishers to join a new premium bundle offering from Apple News that will launch next spring under the banner of Texture, a startup that Apple acquired earlier this year, Bloomberg reports.

Why it matters: Media companies, particularly those with dwindling print income, are desperate for new revenue but afraid of giving up control. Apple is a tempting partner, but publishers are wary of participating in "all-in-one" services that take a slice of subscription fees and control distribution.

Details: Apple plans to relaunch Texture within Apple News for $9.99 a month. The app, a "Netflix for magazines" that offers unlimited access to about 200 magazines, was acquired by Apple in March.

  • Publishers are apprehensive about partnering with Apple, fearful that Texture's cheap bundle would cut their total revenue, per Bloomberg.
  • Some publications are building independent bases: The New York Times' digital subscriptions reached their highest figure, at more than 2.5 million subscribers by the third quarter of 2018. 
  • But digital traffic may be flattening. In the fourth quarter of 2017, an average of 11.5 million monthly unique visitors visited the top 50 newspapers, marking the first year these sites haven't seen a traffic increase, per Pew Research Center.

Flashback: Another reason publishers are reluctant to join Apple is that they've been here before.

  • Apple's Newsstand app once promised to help publishers find audiences, but it never quite took off, causing the company to fold the built-in app in 2015.

Go deeper

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 7 p.m. ET: 5,682,389 — Total deaths: 354,944 — Total recoveries — 2,337,385Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 7 p.m. ET: 1,697,459 — Total deaths: 100,271 — Total recoveries: 391,508 — Total tested: 15,192,481Map.
  3. Public health: Fauci says data is "really quite evident" against hydroxychloroquine — Nearly half of Americans say someone in their household has delayed medical care.
  4. Business: African American business owners have seen less relief from PPP, Goldman Sachs saysDisney plans phased reopening on July 11Author Ann Patchett says bookstores are innovating to stay connected with customers.
  5. Tech: AI will help in the pandemic — but it might not be in time for this one.
  6. 1 🎶 thing: Local music venues get rocked by coronavirus.
  7. 🎧 Podcast: Trump vs. Twitter ... vs. Trump.
  8. What should I do? When you can be around others after contracting the coronavirus — Traveling, asthma, dishes, disinfectants and being contagiousMasks, lending books and self-isolatingExercise, laundry, what counts as soap — Pets, moving and personal healthAnswers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingHow to minimize your risk.
  9. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it, the right mask to wear.

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Updated 20 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Top Senate Democrat says State Dept. is working on new Saudi arms deal

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo briefs reporters on May 20. Photo: Nicholas Kamm/pool/AFP via Getty Images

Senate Foreign Relations ranking member Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) wrote in a CNN op-ed on Wednesday that he learned that the State Department is currently working to sell thousands of additional precision-guided bombs to Saudi Arabia.

Why it matters: Democrats say that Steve Linick, the State Department inspector general who was ousted on Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's recommendation, was investigating the administration's previous effort to sell weapons to Saudi Arabia without congressional approval.

U.S. coronavirus death toll crosses 100,000

Data: Johns Hopkins University; Chart: Danielle Alberti/Axios

More than 100,000 Americans have died of the coronavirus, according to data from Johns Hopkins — a terrible milestone that puts the death toll far beyond some of the most tragic events in U.S. history.

By the numbers: The death toll from COVID-19 now stands at more than 34 times the number of people who died on 9/11.