Apple bought the unlimited magazine subscription service, Texture, earlier this year. The rate used to be $14.99 per month, but in July it dropped down to $9.99 per month. Nothing really has been done with the platform yet, but Apple has grand plans to relaunch the service and publishers are worried.
The Texture relaunch will be a premium product that will be rolled into Apple News. As part of this relaunch, Apple is looking to incorporate newspapers as well as magazines, but it sounds like some publishers aren’t sold on the all-you-can-eat approach to news. They worry that Texture may effectively steal subscribers by offering access for less than some of these publications charge for their own subscriptions.
Top-tier newspapers like The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times are the primary focus for Apple, both of which provide a small selection of free content in the News app today. But getting just a small piece of Apple’s $10 subscription would be a huge drop in per-reader revenue for those daily newspapers.
Apple believes that newspaper publishers would be making a substantial amount of money – potentially more money than some publications make from their existing subscriber bases. The pitch to newspaper companies is that the Apple News app is installed by default in 1.3 billion iOS devices (and is part of macOS Mojave, too). Even if just a fraction of those users subscribe to the premium Texture content, it could mean tens of millions of new subscribers or more. Just a few cents a month from each of them could generate millions in revenue for those newspapers.
Apple executives have also compared the opportunity with Texture to their success with music. Since the company bought Beats Music in 2014 and used it as the basis for Apple Music the following year, the service has grown to more than 50 million subscribers.
The new Texture experience will focus primarily on the reading experience. It will feel like using an App like Feedly and have a card based approach. Magazines won’t really feel like magazines anymore, or replica editions. The earliest that the Texture relaunch will occur is Spring 2019, Apple will likely announce something in the next three months.
Michael Kozlowski is the Editor in Chief of Good e-Reader. He has been writing about audiobooks and e-readers for the past ten years. His articles have been picked up by major and local news sources and websites such as the CNET, Engadget, Huffington Post and Verge.