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June 30, 2020updated 30 Sep 2022 9:26am

New York Times ditches Apple News because of low returns for publisher

By William Turvill

The New York Times has ended its content partnership with Apple News to pursue “direct relationships” with readers.

Thousands of large news organisations promote their content through the app, which is curated by Apple-employed editors.

Apple chief executive Tim Cook revealed in April that the app was reaching 125m active users a month. But reporting on their employer’s decision to ditch Apple News, New York Times journalists said it has generated little advertising revenue for publishers. They also reported that Apple takes a 30 per cent cut on subscriptions sold through the app.

The New York Times has made a major push to build up its subscription base in recent years. It enjoyed a period of record growth between January and March this year, and now has more than 6m subscribers.

The news organisation cut back on the number of stories it made available to Apple News in March last year.

NYT chief executive Mark Thompson warned at the time of the pitfalls of third-party distribution for publishers. “We tend to be quite leery about the idea of almost habituating people to find our journalism somewhere else,” he told Reuters

Confirming plans to pull out of Apple News, a New York Times spokesperson said: “Apple News does not align with our strategy to fund quality journalism by building direct relationships with paying readers.

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“We believe quality publishers should be fairly compensated for the expensive proposition of creating and providing platforms valuable independent journalism.

“We’re confident we’ll continue to have strong partnerships with Apple through a variety of other products.”

Many other publishers have concerns about their ability to build relationships with readers through third parties. Earlier this month, in a white paper setting out the US news industry’s various issues with Google, the News Media Alliance highlighted concerns about readers accessing content through Google News.

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