Apple Was Unable to Ink Apple News+ Deals With WaPo and NYT Despite 'Vigorous Courtship'

Apple was desperate to secure deals with The Washington Post or The New York Times for its recently announced Apple News+ service but was ultimately unable to persuade them to sign up despite a "vigorous courtship," according to a new report from Vanity Fair.

Shortly after Apple's Texture deal last spring, Apple began discussions with the two news sites, putting a "tremendous" amount of pressure on them and promising to significantly increase their readership.

applenewsmymagazines

"Eddy Cue was in and out of their offices really trying to woo them." Cue's elevator pitch, according to people familiar with the discussions, was, "We'll make you the most-read newspaper in the world."

Apple was aiming for access to the full content from the two newspapers, rather than a pared down offering or a selection of stories on a specific set of topics. Apple is said to have not wanted "limitations in terms of content."

Neither The New York Times nor The Washington Post could be convinced to join ‌Apple News‌+. Both publications have successful online subscription offerings already. The New York Times charges $15 per month for a basic digital subscription, while The Washington Post charges $10. The newspapers get to keep 100 percent of the revenue brought in by those subscriptions.

Apple wanted to include full access to the content from the news sites for the $9.99 per month asking price of ‌Apple News‌+. According to prior reports, Apple keeps 50 percent of the subscription revenue for ‌Apple News‌+ and splits the other 50 percent among publishers based on how much time is spent consuming their content.

If The New York Times and The Washington Post joined ‌Apple News‌+, their existing subscribers would have little reason to keep paying them $10 to $15 per month instead of paying the $9.99 subscription to ‌Apple News‌+, which would also include other news content and magazines. Apple believes its huge subscriber base would ultimately bring more readers to the news sites, but neither newspaper was swayed by that argument.

Meredith Kopit Levin, the chief operating officer for The New York Times, told Vanity Fair that the newspaper wants to have a direct relationship with its readers.

"We've been pretty deliberate about saying that the best place you can experience journalism is through a relationship with a news provider. So far for us, that has meant a direct relationship with users. The more we have a relationship with users, the better we think our business will be, and the better the experience that we can provide to them."

A spokesperson for The Washington Post said that the paper's focus is on growing its own subscription base, which meant joining ‌Apple News‌+ "just did not make sense" at the current time.

While Apple was not able to secure deals with either The Washington Post nor The New York Times, it did ink a deal with The Wall Street Journal. The full content from The ‌Wall Street Journal‌ is unlocked for ‌Apple News‌+ subscribers even though a standard subscription starts at $19.49 per month for the first year, after which it goes up to $38.99.

There are caveats, though. A limited selection of general news and opinion pieces are promoted through ‌Apple News‌+, and other content from The ‌Wall Street Journal‌ must be manually searched for. ‌Apple News‌+ also only provides three days worth of archives from The ‌Wall Street Journal‌.

According to Vanity Fair, The ‌Wall Street Journal‌ has less to lose than other news sites. Its main subscriber base consists of corporate accounts and "high net-worth individuals" interested in business and finance news rather than the more general news content that will be promoted via ‌Apple News‌+.

Apple has also secured deals with hundreds of magazines, and much of ‌Apple News‌+ comprises access to magazines like National Geographic, Vogue, The New Yorker, and other high profile titles. Magazines also have less to lose than digital sites already offering subscriptions as most don't have established digital subscription businesses.

Publications that do not have large audiences paying for digital access each month have the potential to be more successful with ‌Apple News‌, but for sites like The New York Times and The Washington Post, there's a real risk that joining would cannibalize existing subscribers.

It's not yet clear if ‌Apple News‌+ will ultimately be successful for Apple's media partners, and it's possible that if it is, news sites that have declined joining will do so in the future.

For more on ‌Apple News‌+, make sure to check out our full guide on the subscription service.

Top Rated Comments

keysofanxiety Avatar
67 months ago
Failing to secure a deal despite vigorous courtship? Sounds like every date I’ve had.
Score: 93 Votes (Like | Disagree)
fumi2014 Avatar
67 months ago
I applaud any publisher who is not willing to give up 50% of their profits for little to nothing.
Score: 49 Votes (Like | Disagree)
berrymetal Avatar
67 months ago
Might be unrelated but I really think Eddy cue is not good enough for Apple, look at what he did to Siri.
Score: 22 Votes (Like | Disagree)
ipedro Avatar
67 months ago
In the current culture in "news" these days, I find it amazing that people will be willing to pay a monthly fee for "news" from any "news" outlet. Whether it's these two newspapers or AppleNews as an aggregator. I guess we'll see how successful Apple will be.
That’s *precisely* why people choose to pay for news. News outlets that you pay for are going to have the budget and financial stability to do the hard work of researching facts and hiring excellent writers to convey them. You build a relationship of trust with news you pay for. Free news outlets that rely on ad clicks have very little to lose and serve their advertisers rather than their readers.
Score: 21 Votes (Like | Disagree)
DNichter Avatar
67 months ago
Maybe if you didn't roll in there with that slob Eddy Cue, you'd have better luck.
Score: 15 Votes (Like | Disagree)
BarredOwl Avatar
67 months ago
The NYT and WaPo are smart. Good for them!
Score: 11 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Popular Stories

iphone se 4 modified flag edges

When to Expect the Next iPhone SE to Launch

Friday May 17, 2024 2:03 pm PDT by
It has been over two years since Apple released the third-generation iPhone SE, and rumors continue to surface about a new model. The latest word comes from The Information, which today reported that Apple plans to release a new iPhone SE with a design similar to the standard iPhone 14 in the spring of 2025. If this rumor is accurate, the iPhone SE would finally gain Face ID and a notch...
iOS 17

iOS 17.5 Bug May Also Resurface Deleted Photos on Wiped, Sold Devices [Updated]

Friday May 17, 2024 12:24 pm PDT by
A bug in iOS 17.5 is apparently causing photos that have been deleted to reappear, and the issue seems to impact even iPhones and iPads that have been erased and sold off to other people. A Reddit user wiped an iPad following Apple's guidelines in September of 2023 before selling it off to a friend. That friend updated the iPad to iPadOS 17.5 this week, and began seeing the Reddit user's old ...
iphone se 4 modified flag edges

iPhone SE 4 With Face ID Said to Be Priced Below $500

Monday May 20, 2024 3:43 am PDT by
Apple is targeting a sub-$500 starting price for its upcoming fourth-generation iPhone SE model despite a raft of rumored upgrades coming to the more affordable device. According to leaker Revegnus on X, the U.S. launch price of the fourth-generation iPhone SE will either remain at the same $429 starting price as the current model, or will see an increase of around 10%. Either way, Apple's...
iOS 17

Apple Releases iOS 17.5.1 With Fix for Reappearing Photos Bug

Monday May 20, 2024 10:11 am PDT by
Apple today released iOS 17.5.1 and iPadOS 17.5.1, minor updates to the iOS 17 and iPadOS 17 operating system updates that came out last September. The 17.5.1 updates come a week after the launch of iOS 17.5 and iPadOS 17.5. iOS 17.5.1 and iPadOS 17.5.1 can be downloaded on eligible iPhones and iPads over-the-air by going to Settings > General > Software Update. According to Apple's...
iPhone 16 Camera Lozenge 2 Perspective

iPhone 16 Lineup Rumored to Come in These Two New Colors

Sunday May 19, 2024 11:08 am PDT by
Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo today outlined his expectations for the iPhone 16 lineup's color options, revealing that two new colors should replace two of the existing shades. Kuo outlined his expectations in a post on X (formerly Twitter) earlier today. He believes that the iPhone 16 Pro and iPhone 16 Pro Max will be available in black, white or silver, gray or "Natural Titanium," and rose....
oled m4 ipad pro grainy display reports

OLED iPad Pro Users Report 'Grainy' Displays, But It May Not Be a Defect

Friday May 17, 2024 5:57 am PDT by
Some new M4 iPad Pro models are exhibiting a visible static grain pattern across the OLED display, according to several user reports on Reddit (1, 2, 3) and the MacRumors Forums. Image credit: MacRumors user bk215 Users who see the grain generally report that it is most noticeable in dark environments with the display set at a low to medium brightness while viewing content with gray or muted...