Apple News+ offers variety, but WSJ holds back on business stories

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(Reuters) – Apple Inc’s Apple News+ service will consolidate content from 300 popular magazines and newspapers for $10 a month, but at least one source will offer only selected articles instead of its entire library.

Roger Rosner, Vice President of Applications for Apple, speaks during an Apple special event at the Steve Jobs Theater in Cupertino, California, U.S., March 25, 2019. REUTERS/Stephen Lam

Apple News+ readers will get a curated selection of general interest news from the Wall Street Journal, while Journal subscribers will continue to have exclusive access to its business reporting and analysis, said William Lewis, chief executive of Dow Jones and publisher of the Journal, in a memo on Monday.

The financial news-focused Wall Street Journal will hire “several dozen” reporters to cover politics, general news and features, said Matt Murray, editor in chief of the Journal, in a memo to employees on Monday. A monthly digital subscription to the Wall Street Journal costs $39 per month.

It was unclear whether Apple News+ will include the entire content of all the participating magazines and newspapers.

Magazines from Conde Nast and Hearst, including The New Yorker and Vanity Fair, are also included with Apple’s revamped news offering. They will be among the 300 magazines available with Apple News+, along with Wired and National Geographic.

“Apple News+ subscribers can access current and past issues and individual articles from magazines,” the company said in a statement.

The two publishing houses, along with Meredith Corp, which publishes People and InStyle magazines, formed an unlimited magazine-reading app called Texture that Apple bought in March 2018.

“It’s a good value,” said Merrill Brown of Apple News+. Brown is a media consultant and founder of The News Project, which is building technology for news providers. He added that Apple should develop initiatives to support local news sources and those reporting on under-covered topics.

Magazine subscription costs vary widely. A yearly digital subscription to the New Yorker costs $100, while a digital subscription to Vanity Fair costs $20. Apple said subscribing to all the publications separately would cost a reader $8,000 per year.

Apple said the new service will not allow advertisers to track what users read, and Apple itself will not have that data. The focus on privacy comes after numerous data scandals in the tech industry over the past year.

The New York Times, the largest U.S. newspaper by subscribers, is unlikely be part of Apple’s news service.

New York Times Chief Executive Mark Thompson previously told Reuters that the company was “leery” about consumers reading its journalism on other platforms and warned publishers of how Netflix disrupted the movie studio business and gained leverage by taking control of distribution.

The New York Time’s subscription revenue grew 3 percent in 2018 from the previous year while its advertising revenue was stagnant. Facebook Inc and Alphabet Inc’s Google have gained a near duopoly on digital advertising.

A monthly digital subscription to the Times costs $15, which the company is not willing to give up to be part of other platforms, Thompson has said.

Reporting by Sheila Dang; Editing by Meredith Mazzilli

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