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The New York Times pulls out of Apple News

30 Jun 2020 / 21:13 H.

NEW YORK: The New York Times has become the highest-profile media organization to leave Apple News, saying the tech giant’s service was not helping achieve the newspaper’s subscription and business goals.

The daily’s exit comes as news organizations around the world struggle with declining print readership and an online environment where ad revenue is dominated by Google and Facebook.

“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,“ chief operating officer Meredith Kopit Levien said in a memo to employees on Monday.

“Our relationship with Apple News does not fit within these parameters,“ added the memo, which was published by the Times.

Launched in 2015, Apple’s news app helps promote media subscriptions, and in 2019 Apple added a paid service called Apple News+ which shares revenue with newspaper and magazine publishers.

It promotes itself as a service with content curated by humans, not algorithms, and boasts a larger roster of titles including The Wall Street Journal, The New Yorker, National Geographic, Vanity Fair and Sports Illustrated.

But the service did not bring in the kind of revenue news organizations were hoping for, according to the Times, which said in its report on the exit that Apple takes a 30 percent cut of every subscription sold through its news app.

It also took half of Apple News+ revenues, according to the Times report.

The Times’s exit from Apple News comes after Google announced plans last week to pay some news organizations for content in a departure from its past practice following pressure from governments and media groups around the world.

Facebook has also unveiled similar measures in recent months to partner with media outlets.

In a statement published in the Times, an Apple spokesman said the paper offered its free Apple News service “only... a few stories a day”.

“We are also committed to supporting quality journalism through the proven business models of advertising, subscriptions and commerce,“ the spokesman added.

While most news organizations globally are struggling, the Times is in relatively healthy shape. It has reported a reduction in ad revenue, but subscriptions surpassed six million last month. -AFP

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