Apple's rumored Conde Nast purchase bid would further amplify Apple News

Posted:
in General Discussion
Rumors suggest that Apple may be looking to boost Apple News content with a purchase of magazine publisher Conde Nast, the owner of Vanity Fair, The New Yorker, and Wired.

Texture, which Apple acquired this year, was formerly owned in part by Conde Nast


Back in March, Apple made a move to purchase Texture, a digital magazine service previously owned by a consortium of magazine publishers. Now, rumors have Apple looking to purchase one of Texture's previous owners.

A piece in The Guardian Monday, ahead of Apple's quarterly earnings announcement, stated that "rumors have even circulated that Apple is looking to buy parts or all of the troubled magazine publisher Conde Nast."

The sources of such rumors, heretofore unpublished, are unclear. The newspaper analyzes the potential purchase as something that "would further [Apple's] push, initiated with the Apple Watch, to become a luxury fashion accessory, lifestyle and content brand" and misses the larger point.

About Conde Nast

Conde Nast, based in New York, is one of the bastions of "old media" in the United States. Its history goes back more than a century, and its titles include such prestigious periodicals as Allure, Architectural Digest, Bon Appetit, Brides, Conde Nast Traveler, Epicurious, Glamour, Golf Digest, GQ, Self, Teen Vogue, The New Yorker, Vanity Fair, Vogue, and W.

The company also owns such tech-focused outlets as Ars Technica, Backchannel and Wired. Conde Nast formerly directly owned the social networking site Reddit, and while it spun off that company a few years ago, Conde Nast subsidiary Advance Publications remains its largest shareholder.

Like most media companies of its kind, Conde Nast has carried out frequent layoffs in recent years. Various initiatives, including an "All Access" feature launched in partnership with Amazon in 2003, have failed to stem the tide. Conde Nast was also a part of the consortium of magazine publishers that owned Texture prior to its purchase by Apple.

What Apple would do with Conde

Clearly, such a purchase is far from a sure thing. But it would certainly represent a content play for Apple to combine ownership of a magazine, as well as all of its archives, with its plans for Texture. Apple is expected to launch a paid news subscription service following the Texture purchase.

A deal would also bring with it world-class journalists, editors, and designers -- which Apple has been seeking for Apple News curation and expansion anyway. It may present obvious conflict-of-interest problems for Wired and the other tech publications to be directly owned by Apple.

"We want the best articles," Apple's Senior Vice President of Internet Software and Services, Eddy Cue, said at a South by Southwest appearance in March, just hours after the Texture deal was announced. "We want them to look amazing and we want them to be from trusted sources."

Apple has long been an advertiser in Conde Nast publications, with Apple ads often appearing on the back page of The New Yorker.

The website The Outline, working off of the Guardian story, speculated this week that Apple could make such a purchase in order to become "cool again," drawing that analogy that "Apple seems to be realizing that for every iTunes, there needs to be a Bono."

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 17
    battiato1981battiato1981 Posts: 221member
    The New Yorker designer/illustrators have been doing some interesting things with occasionally animated cover designs, and their writing is consistently top notch. This type of magazine publication is a great fit with Apple. Would love to see what might become of a tighter relationship. 
    dasanman69cornchip
  • Reply 2 of 17
    rob53rob53 Posts: 1,935member
    This would be fine with me. I used to know some people who worked in the production part of Conde Nast when it was 100% print, back in the good old days!
  • Reply 3 of 17
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 30,126member
    Just buy Time Warner and/or Disney and get it over with already. ;)
  • Reply 4 of 17
    entropysentropys Posts: 1,346member
    Why anyone would let someone else curate their information is something I do not understand.  It won’t end well. 
    I would never use a product like Apple News. Not matter how convienient. It isn’t worth the potential price.
    Amalgamation of media ownership is also ultimately detrimental. After all, isn’t that why we are supposed to hate Murdoch?
  • Reply 5 of 17
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 30,126member
    entropys said:
    Why anyone would let someone else curate their information is something I do not understand.  It won’t end well. 
    I would never use a product like Apple News. Not matter how convienient. It isn’t worth the potential price.
    Amalgamation of media ownership is also ultimately detrimental. After all, isn’t that why we are supposed to hate Murdoch?
    I like the idea of Apple owning news organizations far less than I like the idea of them owning entertainment production companies. With news and reporting there is unlimited downside, with little upside.
    edited May 1
  • Reply 6 of 17
    FolioFolio Posts: 393member
    Ain’t gonna happen. If it does huge backlash. Already Apple booed at Patti Smith concert when citing its support for documentary. Big Corp buying leading culture icon in New Yorker and tech journalists of Wired etc. No way. The texture app was the correct approach. Ps Note that Bezos not amazon bought wapo.
    SpamSandwich
  • Reply 7 of 17
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 12,627member
    entropys said:
    Why anyone would let someone else curate their information is something I do not understand.  It won’t end well. 
    I would never use a product like Apple News. Not matter how convienient. It isn’t worth the potential price.
    Amalgamation of media ownership is also ultimately detrimental. After all, isn’t that why we are supposed to hate Murdoch?
    Part of the reason the old line media is having so much trouble is that nobody in their right mind trusts them.   This isn't a right or left thing it has more to do with ethical behavior.   So yeah concentrating the media even more into large corporations serves the interest of nobody.    I would hope that Apple sees this as a dangerous thing to do with a high potential to reflect negatively on Apple.

    Personally if Apple wants to do news, they really should set up a full blown news station to actually compete with the rest of the news sources out there.   Stress ethical reporting and they will have success.   As for the rest of the Conde Nast media i really don't see the point.   Again if people really wanted to read those magazines, some of which serve no useful purpose, they would still be buying the magazines.

    In many ways magazines are a relic from the past.   Especially anything dealing with food.    Just a short time ago I spent a couple of minutes looking for Swedish meatball recipes {seriously} and had dozens of recipes and articles at my finger tips.   If there is one thing Google does well it is finding me new ways to taste something good.  Frankly the online sources are sometimes a hang over from the print media and I'd like to see magazine format sites disappear.   For Apple to do that though they really need to break away from the mindset in the old media world.

    I could say much the same about a few other entities in the Conde Nast line up.    Basically they are trying to serve a readership that simply isn't there any more.   In the case of Ars, a break away from the print media mindset, the conflict of interest would be overwhelming.   So I'm just not seeing it.   That is where is the pay off in such a purchase for Apple?   Will they pay millions, maybe billions, for businesses that are in decline and likely will not recover?   I'm looking at each magazine as a business here.   To look at tit another way is it prudent to invest in a buggy whip manufacture?
    Rayz2016jbdragon
  • Reply 8 of 17
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 12,627member
    entropys said:
    Why anyone would let someone else curate their information is something I do not understand.  It won’t end well. 
    I would never use a product like Apple News. Not matter how convienient. It isn’t worth the potential price.
    Amalgamation of media ownership is also ultimately detrimental. After all, isn’t that why we are supposed to hate Murdoch?
    I like the idea of Apple owning news organizations far less than I like the idea of them owning entertainment production companies. With news and reporting there is unlimited downside, with little upside.
    I personally don't see the point in investing in print media in any form.    Apple would be better off generating a new generation of media properties built around modern web sensibilities.    Conde Nast is in the gutter for a reason, I don't see Apple changing that much.
    SpamSandwichjbdragon
  • Reply 9 of 17
    FolioFolio Posts: 393member
    Obviously the reason for Apple’s Texture purchase is because they 1 see value in well considered words 2 they can improve presentation through such things as search and audiobooks or podcast, and 3 increase the number of readers (and perhaps decrease outbreaks of idiocy). But outright purchase of Condé Nast? A great way to alienate many creative people. 
    SpamSandwich
  • Reply 10 of 17
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 3,608administrator
    Are you guys kidding me with this? 

    This is not the post for political manifestos. We didn't make this partisan, and neither will you.
    SpamSandwichjSnively
  • Reply 11 of 17
    EsquireCatsEsquireCats Posts: 432member
    Schadenfreude is Apple being Reddit's largest shareholder.
  • Reply 12 of 17
    bluefire1bluefire1 Posts: 829member
    I rather they buy Netflix.
  • Reply 13 of 17
    bestkeptsecretbestkeptsecret Posts: 2,994member
    bluefire1 said:
    I rather they buy Netflix.


    Would that be for the original content that Netflix has, or their entire catalogue?

    I assume all streaming licences will become void if Netflix is sold to another company and would have to be re-negotiated.

    Would Netflix still be worth their market value with just their original content?

    I assume Apple would have weighed their options and decided that investing the same amount in original content makes more business sense in the long run.

    SpamSandwich
  • Reply 14 of 17
    irelandireland Posts: 17,462member
    Control the platform, don’t control the magazines. Would be a mistake and a big distraction for Apple. Instead focus on launching Texture inside Apple and also putting it on and Apple news on Android. Along with getting iMessage on Android as an Apple controlled universal chat app.
  • Reply 15 of 17
    irelandireland Posts: 17,462member
    bluefire1 said:
    I rather they buy Netflix.
    Too late for that now. They could have snapped them up for a song years ago. They dropped the ball. Apple are going to go it alone on the video content front it seems. I somehow doubt the veracity of this story. Rumours are one thing. Apple buying CN is another thing. Stranger things can happen, but I have big doubts on this one. And I dislike the idea of it.
    SpamSandwich
  • Reply 16 of 17
    19831983 Posts: 1,120member
    "Apple seems to be realizing that for every iTunes, there needs to be a Bono."

    Is that statement implying that Bono of all people is considered to be ‘cool’? Because he’s just about the most un-cool celebrity out there! And has been for years, there’s a reason why an episode of Southpark took literally the ‘shit’ out of him.
  • Reply 17 of 17
    ManquemanManqueman Posts: 39member
    Apple's like Amazon when it comes to this; even if they do their own thing, it's not to the exclusion of others. Besides Kindle hardware, there's Kindle apps for other devices. You don't need a Fire phone to access Amazon-- there's apps. Likewise, you don't a Fire stick or whatever it's called for Amazon video. So in that kind of situation, Apple would want to spend money to get a comparably crappy group (more money-wise than editorial quality-wise) of publications in a low margin business and compete with those with whom they need to business why? Buying Conde Nast would be the opposite of the Texture purchase. It will enhance Apple News -- enhance and iOS feature -- and treat all publishers equally. And speaking of Conde Nast: Apple's gonna buy it before or after they buy Netflix? By the way: iPhone X sales are still a disaster, exactly as media pros and Wall Street analysts all claim, right?
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