(Credit: Screenshot: Tom McNamara/Download.com)

Back in March 2018, Apple announced that it had agreed to buy Texture, a "digital magazine service," and this transaction didn't raise many eyebrows at the time. After all, the company works diligently on the Apple News app that's pre-installed on over a billion iPhones and iPads around the world, so it looked like a natural complement.

With that many potential eyeballs, it seems like newspapers and magazines should have been thrilled at the prospect of regaining an audience after years of continual declines. But as Apple is rumored to be turning Texture into a premium news subscription service within its News app, Bloomberg reports that there are a number of skeptics in the industry.

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In a narrative surfaced by Slate in September, the Apple News app has indeed opened up the iOS platform to news websites and improved traffic for some of them, but only up to a point. The core issue (no pun intended) is that Apple News users don't often leave the app to explore the news sites that it aggregates, which has a direct impact on advertising revenue, return visits, and other key considerations that determine if a publication will sink or keep swimming.

Through that lens, one could understand why the publishing industry isn't enthusiastic about a proposed Netflix-like service for premium news, if it lives within an app that itself has not been delivering readers as hoped. On the other hand, it could be that the Apple News app is so slickly put together that many news websites struggle in comparison.

In the event that the publication has a polished iOS app, such as The Washington Post or The New York Times, the Apple News app does not mention this when it features content from those sources, instead funneling users to regular websites. Getting readers to use your app instead of visiting your website through someone else's app is also a well-known method to get those return visits that indicate interest in your whole publication, versus interest in just an individual article.

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According to Bloomberg, subscription-oriented publications like The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal (Android, iOS) have expressed concerns that a similar service from Apple News itself could end up losing them money instead of gaining it, given the perception that the app's readers tend not to explore the websites that it aggregates.

If you charge, say, $10 a month for access to your news site, but Apple News ends up charging $10 a month for a buffet of premium competitors, Apple's curb appeal would probably be much higher. In that case, it may be a matter of either jumping onboard an Apple News subscription, or withering on the vine.

Takeaways

  • According to a recent report from Bloomberg, Apple may be working on a monthly news subscription within its News app, which comes preinstalled on over a billion iPhones and iPads around the world.
  • However, several major news sites have expressed concern that such an initiative would help Apple more than it would help them, and a report from Slate in September indicated that most Apple News users stay within the app instead of exploring beyond the featured article.

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Tom McNamara is a Senior Editor for CNET's Download.com. He mainly covers Windows, mobile and desktop security, games, Google, streaming services, and social media. Tom was also an editor at Maximum PC and IGN, and his work has appeared on CNET, PC Gamer, MSN.com, and Salon.com. He's also unreasonably proud that he's kept the same phone for more than two years.