Apple’s ‘Netflix for News’

The news industry’s saviour, or the final nail in the coffin?

Olivier Sorgho
Nov 27, 2020 · 23 min read
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Introduction

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What is Apple News Plus and How does it Work?

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The situation in the news industry today

The Advertising Problem: Revenue and the tech giants

Google and Facebook can target that exact audience for you using information they’ve kept about their users and their interests. That’s a lot more efficient than individually purchasing ads on a bunch of different sites and publications whose readers might include your target demo, but also might include other people…”

The Shift towards Paywalls — Is it Sustainable?

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“how many paywalls will people really pay to click past? It’s worked for The New York Times; it’s worked for The Washington Post and The Wall Street Journal. But does it work for local newspapers? … a potential subscriber must weigh it against every publication to which they’re already subscribed. At what point do they look at their expenditures and decide that one more monthly payment of $5 to $10 is just too much?”

Asymmetrical Power: The 50% Revenue Cut

What Are the Pros? What are the Cons?

Traffic and Reach

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“Is all our content going on Apple News? No. We’re going to make sure the Apple News product is a wonderful product people feel comfortable investing in”

Willian Lewis, Publisher, The Wall Street Journal

Revenues are Modest at Best, Disappointing at Worst

Data and User Relationships: An Apple-Controlled Environment

Algorithms and Curation: An Improvement on the Facebook ‘clickbait’ Era

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“We’re committed to supporting quality journalism, and with Apple News Plus, we want to celebrate the great work being done by magazines and news outlets…”

Laura Kern. Editor in Chief. Apple News Plus.

Dealing with the Product: Two Example Scenarios

Scenario 1: Little or no engagement

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“We tend to be quite leery about the idea of almost habituating people to find our journalism somewhere else…We’re also generically worried about our journalism being scrambled in a kind of (blender) with everyone else’s journalism.”
Mark Thompson, CEO, The New York Times

Scenario 2: Partial or High Engagement

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Our Conclusion: Huge but Unrealized potential

The Startup

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