The New York Times has become one of the first high profile publishers to leave its partnership with Apple News, Apple’s news aggregation app that is available in the US, UK, Canada and Australia.
The Times said that from Monday 29 June none of its content would appear in Apple News, and that the decision was made at a time when “news organizations struggle to compete with large tech companies for readers’ attention and dollars.”
Apple News is a news aggregating app only available on Apple devices the iPhone, iPad and Mac. It launched in 2015 but did not include every major or local publication in its active regions. Publishers must opt-in to a contract with Apple, with Apple then serving up content to its users on a individual, algorithmic basis.
Meredith Kopit Levien, chief operating officer at The Times said, “Core to a healthy model between The Times and the platforms is a direct path for sending those readers back into our environments, where we control the presentation of our report, the relationships with our readers and the nature of our business rules. Our relationship with Apple News does not fit within these parameters.”
While social media sites like Facebook has eaten into newspaper advertising revenue and allowed unreliable sources to thrive in some communities, Apple News is proving problematic for a different reason: it has full control over who sees what content from its platform. The Times is uncomfortable with not having a direct line to its readers, hence the withdrawal.
It’s a blow for Apple, who has struggled to get major newspapers to sign up to the service for this reason as well as the distribution of revenue from content displayed. When Apple launched News+, the paid version of News, it leaned heavily on the app’s magazine content such is the sparseness of its newspaper partnerships.
In an age where publishers are struggling to get revenue from readers, The Times has decided that Apple News is not worth the potential extra eyes.