Apple had been holding discussions with some of the largest newspapers in the country about adding their content to its magazine app Texture, which it acquired in March. According to a report in Recode, citing people familiar with the conversations, Apple executives, led by the company’s content boss Eddy Cue, held talks with The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post about coming on board with the app.
The discussions come at a time when Apple is focusing on the internet and subscriptions, as the replacement cycle for its iPhones get extended. The report noted it’s putting $1 billion or more into TV shows that are expected to launch, starting in 2019. Many industry watchers think Apple will roll out a subscription offering that includes music, video and news, noted the report.
Texture enables consumers to read as many stories as they want from a slew of magazines for $10 a month. It’s not clear if Apple wants to add stories from the three big newspapers into the same service or sell subscriptions as an add-on. Recode noted it could be hard to bring the newspapers on board since they already have subscriptions and would worry a deal with Apple could hurt that side of their businesses. What’s more, Recode noted that the papers are concerned that being part of a bundle would make it less attractive than having a one-on-one relationship with the people to subscribe to their newspapers.
What could help Apple convince the newspaper companies to come on board is the fact that its users had 1.3 billion active devices as of January, which could give the papers more access to paying customers, noted Recode. Apple has also been successful in turning hardware customers into subscription customers. Apple’s music service landed 50 million subscribers by offering a free three-month trial to all iPhone users, noted the report.