Mozilla teases launch of Apple News+ competitor

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Mozilla, creator of the Firefox web browser, has begun testing the waters regarding a paid news subscription service it plans to offer later this year.

Firefox gauges interest in paid news aggregation


Mozilla has started probing users to gauge interest in a paid news subscription, stating that a user can "support the sites you love, avoid the ads you hate."

The service, currently referred to as "Firefox Ad-free Internet" would be a direct competitor to Apple News+, which launched in March of this year, wrangling in over 200,000 subscriptions in the first 48 hours.

Mozilla has partnered with Scroll, an ad-free news startup to offer this service. Scroll is still in closed beta but says it has ad-free access to websites such as Vox, Gizmodo, The Verge, and Buzzfeed.

The service would include access to audio articles, bookmarks synced across devices, news recommendations, and a news-focused app. It also claims that it will work whether a user is reading news on mobile or desktop, suggesting that it will be tethered directly to the users Firefox account, allowing the service to be used on any browser they've signed into.

According to the teaser page, the service will cost $4.99 a month, which would undercut Apple News+ by about $5. The page includes a link to take a survey and be offered the ability to enter into the beta.


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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 24
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 7,312member
    The next tech bubble in the making, subscriptions. Streaming service after streaming service trying to get your subscription dollars. Software subscriptions plowing down the same path. Eventually there will be a HUGE shakeout/correction and it will be bloody. 

    And if publishers, as they claim, are not making much money with Apple News+ yet then how will a Mozilla service fair any better at half the price?
    edited July 6 wonkothesaneflyingdpronncornchiptmayrazorpitleavingthebigg
  • Reply 2 of 24
    n2itivguyn2itivguy Posts: 68member
    lkrupp said:
    The next tech bubble in the making, subscriptions. Streaming service after streaming service trying to get your subscription dollars. Software subscriptions plowing down the same path. Eventually there will be a HUGE shakeout/correction and it will be bloody. 

    And if publishers, as they claim, are not making much money with Apple News+ yet then how will a Mozilla service fair any better at half the price?
    I hear you. Although I’m dry selective in what I watch, read, listen to and play, subscription burnout is a real thing. The key thing I like about what’s occurring is the fight between ad-supported and non-ad supported when it comes to streaming content, but that’s a whole other discussion. 

    I wonder if the reimbursement model model would be different, like getting a set percentage of overall monthly price vs length of engagement like AN+ has?
    HarmonyPharm
  • Reply 3 of 24
    22july201322july2013 Posts: 819member
    I look forward to competition. It might force Apple to improve the quality of their News app. For example, I have a 27 inch monitor but the width of most news articles I read in the News app is about 2-3 inches wide. Eighty percent of my beautiful retina monitor is wasted. That's just one of a dozen major failings in the News app. I'm hopeful Mozilla can make their app not stink.
    chelin
  • Reply 4 of 24
    I pay for music, tv and movies. Never have paid directly for reading news. Ad supported clickbait news is the inescapable result of this, and we, all around the globe, are living with the direct consequences of a commercially oriented “free” press. So yeah, subscription burnout is a real thing, but I don’t need two music subscriptions, Apple Music is fine for my family; I also don’t need multiple TV subscriptions (which I couldn’t possibly have time to enjoy all, anyway), I’m waiting for Apple TV+ rollout to kick Netflix to the curb; what I’m really hoping for is a good, independent, news service to become available in my region. For that, I’m almost anxious to pay for!
  • Reply 5 of 24
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 7,312member
    I look forward to competition. It might force Apple to improve the quality of their News app. For example, I have a 27 inch monitor but the width of most news articles I read in the News app is about 2-3 inches wide. Eighty percent of my beautiful retina monitor is wasted. That's just one of a dozen major failings in the News app. I'm hopeful Mozilla can make their app not stink.
    I don't know what you see but that’s not the case on my 27” iMac.
    edited July 6 leavingthebigg
  • Reply 6 of 24
    spice-boyspice-boy Posts: 977member
    lkrupp said:
    The next tech bubble in the making, subscriptions. Streaming service after streaming service trying to get your subscription dollars. Software subscriptions plowing down the same path. Eventually there will be a HUGE shakeout/correction and it will be bloody. 

    And if publishers, as they claim, are not making much money with Apple News+ yet then how will a Mozilla service fair any better at half the price?
    Apple is big and it can throw its weight around, and it does often when "negotiating" with content creators. Mozilla could have better terms for the news and publishing companies and perhaps make a profit when out under the monopolistic muscle of Apple. 
  • Reply 7 of 24
    entropysentropys Posts: 1,850member
    A would expect the Mozilla model is not for profit. Especially at that price.
    The real question is, which staff at which organisation would you trust more to “curate” information. 

    I trust none of them. 
    edited July 6 razorpit
  • Reply 8 of 24
    mike54mike54 Posts: 347member
    Advertising and subscription services have turned out to be very profitable.
    It's good that Mozilla is at least slowly trying out different ways to diversify their income from being mainly Google. Whether it will stick time will tell.

  • Reply 9 of 24
    VanillaVanilla Posts: 6member
    Rayer said:
    Easy, they give the publishers a larger percentage cut off the $5. They aren't making any profit from Apple because they take too much of the cut.
    Apple has 50-50 split so $5 goes to publishers per subscriber. To match that Mozilla would need to have a 100-0 split. If Mozilla are taking any cut at all, they'll be giving publishers less revenue per subscriber than Apple News+, not more. Not that it matters to me, I'm not signing up to any service that pays money to The Verge. I'm happy to pay for journalism, but not propaganda.
  • Reply 10 of 24
    matrix077matrix077 Posts: 748member
    I look forward to competition. It might force Apple to improve the quality of their News app.
    Agree. Hope it pushes Apple to improve its News+ navigation immensely but I doubt Apple will care much for Firefox sadly. 

    C’mon Apple, money’s ready. I just want a way to access my favorite magazines easily with one tap. That’s all I ask. 
  • Reply 11 of 24
    indieshackindieshack Posts: 175member
    I was subscribed to Apple News plus but dumped it after a few weeks - it was obvious that the content providers were holding back some content - for example, WSJ had no tech news section which is the only thing I read in WSJ. The sub price seemed too high for what was there. I wish Mozilla well, there's probably a real need to an aggregation service like this - the problem with Apple is that they would be tough cookies to bargain with - with Apple it's always about $$$ - and I understand several high profile news providers refused to deal.
  • Reply 12 of 24
    palegolaspalegolas Posts: 1,283member
    I think one big issue when Apple is launching services is that they are doing it in regions. I’m not sure I will ever be able to even try out Apple News+. I can’t even try the Apple News (non plus) app. I don’t care that much about localisations. Bring on international services

    If there’s something a competing service can do, it is to launch international global services. Then they’ll have a head start by default.
  • Reply 13 of 24
    mr lizardmr lizard Posts: 67member
    “Firefox Ad Free Internet” does not sound like a logical name for a news subscription service. 
  • Reply 14 of 24
    matrix077matrix077 Posts: 748member
    I was subscribed to Apple News plus but dumped it after a few weeks - it was obvious that the content providers were holding back some content - for example, WSJ had no tech news section which is the only thing I read in WSJ. The sub price seemed too high for what was there. I wish Mozilla well, there's probably a real need to an aggregation service like this - the problem with Apple is that they would be tough cookies to bargain with - with Apple it's always about $$$ - and I understand several high profile news providers refused to deal.
    I disagree. The New Yorker alone is $8.99 an issue. You paid $9.99 and you got 200 more mags. 

    The price is never an issue. For anyone who wants to read magazines this is fabulous deal. Problem is in this day and age how many people like to do that. And of many people that do, especially senior people who are reading magazines all their lives, News+ confusing navigation is a problem, not the price. 
    If I was Tim Cook, I would kick their project manager out. The guy/girl sure have no idea about intuitive interface. 
    edited July 7
  • Reply 15 of 24
    marsorrymarsorry Posts: 45member
    We don't have Apple News+ in my part of the world anyway, so for me it's neither here nor there. If Mozilla has a solution and it's available here, it's worth a try. If not - the Internet is way too vast not to find popular sources and slap them into a good RSS reader or visit them directly. It's not like that's going away anytime soon. The argument for ad-free as a 'benefit' for paying for news doesn't hold much water for me anyway. I dont see why writers and hardworking journalists at Magazines and news sources can't benefit from ads when Google & Facebook can have their entire business model based on that and be successful. What I don't like is the way ads are displayed, not the ads themselves. Don't cover my damn screen or half the article I came to read.
  • Reply 16 of 24
    razorpitrazorpit Posts: 1,008member
    entropys said:
    A would expect the Mozilla model is not for profit. Especially at that price.
    The real question is, which staff at which organisation would you trust more to “curate” information. 

    I trust none of them. 
    Agreed. Choosing which news agency you trust is one thing. Trusting a company to curate aggregate sources can and will lead to problems. Groupthink 101.
  • Reply 17 of 24
    indieshackindieshack Posts: 175member
    matrix077 said:
    The price is never an issue.
    I disagree, price is an issue for the general public.
  • Reply 18 of 24
    chelinchelin Posts: 60member
    Vanilla said:
    Rayer said:
    Easy, they give the publishers a larger percentage cut off the $5. They aren't making any profit from Apple because they take too much of the cut.
    Apple has 50-50 split so $5 goes to publishers per subscriber. To match that Mozilla would need to have a 100-0 split. If Mozilla are taking any cut at all, they'll be giving publishers less revenue per subscriber than Apple News+, not more. Not that it matters to me, I'm not signing up to any service that pays money to The Verge. I'm happy to pay for journalism, but not propaganda.
    The per subscriber measurement is only valid for tangible print media were cost is proportional to the number of produced issues.

    with digital media there’s only a tiny, almost insignificant increase in cost per subscriber. Hence it doesn’t really matter what the subscription price is, the volume of subscribers is more significant.
  • Reply 19 of 24
    robin huberrobin huber Posts: 3,288member
    I like my AppleNews, but it needs serious work. Better integration between AppleNews and AppleNews+. I subscribe to News+, but when I click on a story in News, it often says I need to subscribe to see the entire story! The right hand doesn’t know what the left is doing. 

    Also, too many stories that are nothing more than thinly veiled ads or touts for products for which the publisher gets a kickback. All that “Ten Best” clickbait crap. These need to be curated out. I don’t want any “best” articles unless they are published by Consumer Reports. 

    Also, only some topics or articles have follow or don’t follow hearts. Most of the time when there is an article from a source that makes my skin crawl, there’s no way to tell Apple to nix it. 
  • Reply 20 of 24
    matrix077matrix077 Posts: 748member
    I like my AppleNews, but it needs serious work. Better integration between AppleNews and AppleNews+. I subscribe to News+, but when I click on a story in News, it often says I need to subscribe to see the entire story! The right hand doesn’t know what the left is doing. 

    Also, too many stories that are nothing more than thinly veiled ads or touts for products for which the publisher gets a kickback. All that “Ten Best” clickbait crap. These need to be curated out. I don’t want any “best” articles unless they are published by Consumer Reports. 

    Also, only some topics or articles have follow or don’t follow hearts. Most of the time when there is an article from a source that makes my skin crawl, there’s no way to tell Apple to nix it. 
    Share Sheet then Dislike Story or Block Channel or Report Concern. Use any of them as you see fit. 
    edited July 7
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