Major U.S. Publishers Join Coalition for App Fairness

A group of major U.S. news publishers have joined the Coalition for App Fairness, a collaborative organization set up to highlight issues with Apple, mainly from developers (via TechCrunch).

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Digital Content Next, which represents the AP, The New York Times, NPR, ESPN, Vox, The Washington Post, Meredith, Bloomberg, NBCU, The Financial Times, and more, has become the 50th member to join the Coalition for App Fairness.

A number of other European media organizations have already joined the Coalition for App Fairness, including the European Publishers Council, News Media Europe, GESTE, and Schibsted. Digital Content Next is the first to represent the news and media industry in the United States, and accumulatively reaches an audience of over 233 million unique visitors and 100 percent of the U.S. online population.

The publishers believe that Apple "severely impacts" their subscription-based models by serving as an intermediary. In short, the argument postulates that Apple is wrong to force publishers to use in-app payments for subscription services, which, in turn, means that prices have to rise to account for Apple's commission.

"DCN is pleased to join the Coalition for App Fairness working to establish a fair and competitive digital landscape," Digital Content Next CEO Jason Kint said in a statement. "The premium publisher members of DCN enjoy trusted, direct relationships with consumers, who don't expect intermediaries to impose arbitrary fees and rules which limit their ability to consume the news and entertainment they love."

Earlier this year, Digital Content Next criticized Apple's business practices when it halved its commission from 30 percent to 15 percent for video subscription apps. The organization alleges that Apple amended its App Store rules for Amazon specifically, in order to get Amazon's Prime Video app on iOS and tvOS. Publishers essentially wanted the same discounted fee for themselves but were unable to do so, despite the fact that Apple says its App Store rules are applied evenly.

Furthermore, Digital Content Next argues that Apple's fees and Safari's blocking of third-party cookies and tracking workarounds have pushed publishers away from direct audience revenue, such as subscriptions and events. It claims that Apple has instead pushed them toward digital ads where they had to pay a 30 percent commission on earnings.

Publishers have also expressed concerns about Apple News+ limiting revenue, affording "little in the way of direct relationships with readers," and giving "little control over the business," with some publications such as The New York Times, which is part of Digital Context Next, withdrawing from the service entirely.

"Having DCN join the Coalition for App Fairness is a landmark moment for our campaign, and their insight into core issues with the App Store that top outlets face will only make our voice stronger," said Sarah Maxwell, spokesperson for the Coalition for App Fairness, in a statement. "We're excited to work with them to advocate for App Store policies that are fair, hold Apple accountable, and give consumers freedom of choice."

The Coalition for App Fairness was founded by a large group of companies, such as Epic Games, Spotify, Tile, Basecamp, Blix, Blockchain, Deezer, Match, Prepear, ProtonMail, and SkyDemon, many of whom have had major disagreements with Apple over various issues.

The organization describes itself as "an independent nonprofit organization founded by industry-leading companies to advocate for freedom of choice and fair competition across the app ecosystem." The coalition is based in Washington D.C. and Brussels, and aims to lead legal and regulatory changes with regards to what it says are three key issues; "anti-competitive policies," "30 percent app tax," and "no consumer freedom."

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Top Rated Comments

ossifer Avatar
46 months ago
Analogy: I am going to take my wares to my local Target. I demand: shelf space, security, monitoring, customer service, returns and check-out services all be provided free of charge by Target, and I refuse to give anything to Target.
Score: 14 Votes (Like | Disagree)
deevey Avatar
46 months ago
Is it just me ? I honestly don't see the need for any app to read news.

Is there something wrong with their website ? What can their app do that a website cannot ?
Score: 12 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Darth.Titan Avatar
46 months ago

Now watch how the regulators put the squeeze on Apple and Apple starts whining in turn. The customers will win though.
You're under the impression that the government is acting in the interest of the customer? That's cute. The government (Regardless of which country) only intercedes when there's something in it for them. They love to levy fines and accept money "to protect the customer."

Apple is unfortunately making too much money right now to be ignored. They've painted a big red target on their backs and every government in the world is doing everything they can to squeeze them for whatever they can.
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
CaTOAGU Avatar
46 months ago
"members of DCN enjoy trusted, direct relationships with consumers, who don't expect intermediaries to impose arbitrary fees and rules which limit their ability to consume the news and entertainment they love."

Hold on! First of all it's not a trusted relationship in the positive sense they're desperately trying to make it out to be. People don't want to give Epic, or any other publisher their contact details, usually they only do so because they're compelled to do so. These are the same people who historically have sold those user details to others. What they'd like to really get back to is the days of, "book of the month", where they sent you a book and it was on you to send it back if you didn't want to pay for it.

So yes, their relationship might have been direct but there's no way in hell it was ever trusted.

Whatever the outcome of this, no one should be under any illusion that this bunch have your best interests at heart. Because one things for sure, they'll pay lip service to competition but if any of them, could corner the market and get rid of their competitors, they'd do it in a heartbeat.
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
reyesmac Avatar
46 months ago
Apple users already are used to paying the Apple Tax. I don't feel sorry if companies have to do so as well. They can get a discount when the rest of us do.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
ryanflanders256 Avatar
46 months ago
"Media conglomerates against media conglomeration" would be a great name for this coalition.
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)