What it is: Within the first 48 hours of its release, Apple News+ attracted 200,000 subscribers.
Back when DVD and tape cassette sales were falling and people were stealing MP3 files of their favorite songs, Apple helped save the music industry with iTunes, a legal music download service that eliminated the hassle of finding the song you wanted. Without iTunes, the music industry was flailing to make a profit in the new world of audio file downloads.
Now the newspaper and magazine business is in equally dire straits. With advertising revenue plummeting, newspapers and magazines can’t survive on subscriber revenue alone. That means the newspaper and magazine industry is slowly dying and needs a new way to attract new subscribers.
That’s what makes Apple News+ interesting. For a monthly price of $9.99, you get an all you can read option of several hundred newspapers and magazines. For people who enjoy reading magazines and newspapers, Apple News+ will save them plenty of money. However, can Apple News+ save the newspaper and magazine industry by attracting more subscribers?
Both the Washington Post and The New York Times refused to join Apple News+ because they already offer a monthly subscription service to their content, so joining Apple News+ would mean competing against their own subscription service. The question is whether both newspapers can attract enough subscribers on their own.
For smaller magazines, Apple News+ offers a wider audience. For larger newspapers like The New York times, Apple News+ isn’t proven. As long as The New York Times and The Washington Post can continue attracting subscribers to their own online service, there’s no incentive to join Apple News+. The moment Apple News+ proves they can attract more readers and revenue than either newspaper’s individual online service can offer, that’s the time they’ll switch to Apple News+.
The Washington Post and The New York Times have nothing to lose by taking a wait and see approach. Expect more niche publications to join Apple News+ as the magazine industry continues to flounder. Apple News+ could become the next iTunes in saving an entire industry that’s slowly floundering. We all know the magazine and newspaper market won’t suddenly skyrocket any time soon. We just don’t know if Apple News+ will be the one that saves this industry from itself.