Apple Unveils Subscription News Service and Pricing

Apple
Designer Wyatt Mitchell unveiling the Apple News+ product on March 25.

"We believe Apple News+ is going to be great for customers and great for publishers," CEO Tim Cook said on Monday.

After months of fevered speculation, Apple CEO Tim Cook kicked off the company's "special event" by announcing plans for a new, paid subscription news service called Apple News+ that is launching Monday as part of the existing Apple News application.

"We're bringing magazines to Apple News," Cook said at the event on Monday. "This is going to take Apple News to a whole new level. ... This is really important to us. We believe in the power of journalism and the impact it can have on our lives. We believe Apple News+ is going to be great for customers and great for publishers."

Roger Rosner, Apple's vp of applications, said the new service will cost $9.99 per month and include content from more than 300 magazines, spanning a range of topics. (The first month of use is free, and the service can be shared with family for no additional cost.)

"We are super excited about this," he said. "We hope you like it."

Rosner said that The Los Angeles Times and The Wall Street Journal are participating in the new service. He did not mention The Washington Post and The New York Times, which are reportedly sitting out the product. (The Hollywood Reporter is a launch partner for the new, paid service.)

Some publishers have reportedly been concerned by the amount of money Apple will keep from the revenue-sharing partnership. The company did not provide details about the split during Monday's event.

In line with the company's commitment to user privacy, Rosner said that Apple News+ readership habits will not be provided to advertisers. "Our goal for Apple News+ was simple: We wanted to create the best magazine reader experience ever for a mobile device," he said.

Apple designer Wyatt Mitchell, who showed off how the new service will look, said that "Apple News+ makes the experience of diving into an issue even more exciting. I can read full magazine issues, no matter where or when."

Apple News+ was born out of the company's purchase of Texture, an all-you-can-read magazine subscription service that was launched as a partnership between major magazine companies and the investment firm KKR.

Launched in 2010, Texture suffered from low public awareness and struggled to gain traction and paid users.

Monday's event was attended by some of the media industry's heavy hitters, including Los Angeles Times owner Patrick Soon-Shiong, editor Norm Pearlstine and New York magazine CEO Pamela Wasserstein.

In a staff memo, Journal publisher William Lewis explained the company's decision to join Apple's subscription service, which is part of a larger partnership with the company "which he said will dramatically expand the reach of the Journal’s trusted and groundbreaking journalism." He said, "Apple News+ introduces an entirely new category of readers who will have the opportunity to experience a specially curated collection of general interest news from The Wall Street Journal. As a result, our newsroom will grow. This is an investment in quality journalism."

Lewis also said that the Journal will work with Apple on "video, voice, market data and AI," to be announced in the next few weeks and months.