Report: Apple’s news and magazine subscription service to launch in early 2019

Bloomberg today updated its earlier reporting on Apple’s plans for a news and magazine subscription service. Earlier this year, the outlet said Apple would relaunch the digital newsstand business Texture, which it acquired this spring, as part of the Apple News app. Now, Bloomberg confirms the launch time frame could be “as soon as this spring.” It also detailed some of the industry reaction, which is cautious at best.

Apple is said to be courting paywalled newspapers like The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times to join Texture, and is working on a new design for the magazine content. Instead of trying to mimic what a magazine looks like in print, as it does today, Apple is making the content look more like typical online news articles, Bloomberg said.

The report also noted publishers were proceeding with trepidation, in many cases. Because Apple is offering a lower pricing — $9.99 per month for all-you-can-eat news and magazine content, similar to the Netflix model — publishers are worried Apple’s service will eat into their revenues. This $10 price point, after all, is cheaper than a subscription to a single publication — like The NYT’s digital subscription — in some cases

Instead, publishers prefer a platform that lets them build their own paywalls right into Apple’s app.

But Apple’s counterpoint during negotiations has been that the subscriber growth it could bring would make up for the lost revenues from publishers’ own subscription businesses, the report also said. The company compared its potential to that of Apple Music, which is nearing 60 million users, according to the latest from Billboard.

Texture today offers access to more than 200 magazines, including Vanity Fair, EW, GQ, Vogue, Forbes, Time, People, Rolling Stone, Cosmopolitan, Sports Illustrated and many others, including Bloomberg Businessweek.