New York Times leaves Apple News over a lack of reader connection

Posted:
in General Discussion edited June 2020
The New York Times is pulling itself out from Apple News, citing a need to fight for "readers' attention and dollars" against not only other news organizations, but also tech companies like Apple.

Apple News on an iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch
Apple News on an iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch


On Monday, stories from The New York Times stopped appearing as part of the curated Apple News feed. The disagreement also makes The New York Times the first major media company to pull out from Apple News altogether.

In an explanatory piece on its website, the publication claims it has made acquiring more subscribers a key business goal, but that Apple News has provided it "little in the way of direct relationships with readers and little control over the business." It instead wants to push users to its website and mobile app to gain subscribers and "fund quality journalism."

"Core to a healthy model between The Times and the platforms is a direct path for sending those readers back into our environments, where we control the presentation of our report, the relationships with our readers, and the nature of our business rules," wrote COO Meredith Kopit Levien in a memo to NYT employees. "Our relationship with Apple News does not fit within these parameters."

In response to the withdrawal, an Apple spokesperson seemingly blamed the NYT for the breakdown in the relationship, in that the NYT only offered "Apple News a few stories a day," but Apple News would continue to provide trusted information from thousands of other publishers. "We are also committed to supporting quality journalism through the proven business models of advertising, subscriptions, and commerce," said the spokesperson.

Acknowledging the existence of the Apple News app's 125 million users, the NYT offers the view that the advertising revenue it provides is underwhelming, while at the same time complaining that Apple took a 30% cut of subscriptions sold within the app.

The NYT then gave a potted history of Apple News+, the subscription service that provided users with access to many publications usually blocked by a paywall subscription at a reasonable monthly cost, with Apple said to have promised the delivery of customers publications "wouldn't otherwise get." However, the price of said customers was seemingly high, with publications taking part having to not only undercut their existing subscription prices, but also to share half of the monthly fee with other news organizations while Apple took the remainder.

Pointing out that other major publishers like the Wall Street Journal and Conde Nast took up Apple's deal then were "underwhelmed by the sales" months later, the NYT cheerily proclaims it "passed on Apple News+," before adding it reduced the number of articles it supplied to the free Apple News.

At the time, Times CEO Mark Thompson warned publishers of working with Apple, suggesting "We tend to be quite leery about the idea of almost habituating people to find our journalism somewhere else."

The NYT even admits this isn't the only time it has struggled with tech companies, including ceasing production of Instant Articles for Facebook in 2017, citing a lack of revenue. As for the present, the NYT is paid by Facebook to include stories in the Facebook app's news tab.

As for Google News, the NYT still appears there, with the report taking another dig against Apple's practices by adding Google News sends readers to publishers websites.

Despite pulling out of Apple News, Levien believes the removal won't have a "material impact" to the NYT business, which is enjoying higher digital subscriber revenue despite a reduction in advertising. The NYT would still work with Apple in "other ways," such as with apps, podcasts, and hardware.
«1345

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 89
    xsmixsmi Posts: 137member
    My issue with the NYT, was they wanted to charge me to continue to read an article that was offered in the News+ app. I thought those articles were included in my subscription price, so, I stopped reading their articles. 
    mac_dogpulseimagesJWSCcaladanianRayz2016lolliver
  • Reply 2 of 89
    mcdavemcdave Posts: 1,831member
    i.e. they couldn’t harvest the data they expected.
    NYT business practices investigation now!
    razorpitlolliver
  • Reply 3 of 89
    Let’s be perfectly honest the reason that their readership was down, is they only allowed you to read one/two articles a week for free. If you wanted to read more you had to sign up for a monthly sub. 
    pulseimagescaladanianRayz2016
  • Reply 4 of 89
    palmlagpalmlag Posts: 3member
    Readership down because they are ultra left mouth piece press

    macseekermike1chemengin1pulseimagesJWSCibilllkrupprazorpitSpamSandwichelijahg
  • Reply 5 of 89
    paxmanpaxman Posts: 4,678member
    I am an on and off Apple News user.  I like that it is right there and I like the breath of choice, but I am not crazy about having news curated in the way I think it is (not certain). When I read news I don't really want to only read what I already think. It is not that I read every angle of a story, but I like being presented with a range of topics and articles within one publication. I like the NYT and may subscribe independently. Apple news is trying hard to balance between easy access, tabloid layout and article length with a ton of adds within many articles. I like it but it has not hit the sweet spot for me.

    flyingdpDogpersonRayz2016
  • Reply 6 of 89
    sdw2001sdw2001 Posts: 17,747member
    I never use Apple news. But I can say the New York Times is an absolute disaster. The paper has always been biased, but they at least tried to offer a veneer of accountability and impartiality in the past. The opinion pages have now utterly infected the news room. They are 100% propaganda and fake news at this point.  Anyone who has researched it knows they played an integral part in the “spygate“ scandal.  

    This decision is obviously about money. “Reader engagement” and “relationship with our readers “are just terms for “we weren’t making any money from it.”  
    ibillrazorpitcat52
  • Reply 7 of 89
    davgregdavgreg Posts: 921member
    I am a digital subscriber to the NYT, WaPo, LA Times, The Atlantic, Bloomberg Digital, Der Spiegel, Ars, Wired, and The Economist. 

    I do not se the need or advantage of a person or algorithm at Apple pushing stories. I also do not want a nickel going to anything connected to Rupert Murdoch’s empire of disinformation.
    flyingdpjony0minicoffeelkruppjeffharris
  • Reply 8 of 89
    AppleishAppleish Posts: 407member
    Good. The Times' editors are terrible. We canceled a couple of years ago and subscribed to WaPo. They've displaced the old grey lady as the paper of record.
    p-dogjeffharris
  • Reply 9 of 89
    davgregdavgreg Posts: 921member
    sdw2001 said:
    I never use Apple news. But I can say the New York Times is an absolute disaster. The paper has always been biased, but they at least tried to offer a veneer of accountability and impartiality in the past. The opinion pages have now utterly infected the news room. They are 100% propaganda and fake news at this point.  Anyone who has researched it knows they played an integral part in the “spygate“ scandal.  

    This decision is obviously about money. “Reader engagement” and “relationship with our readers “are just terms for “we weren’t making any money from it.”  
    The NYT has seen a massive spike in digital subscribers during the Trump administration and is by all public accounts doing well. They experienced a near death financial crisis as they transitioned to a paywall as subscribers dropped and ad revenue went away.

    The paper went through multiple rounds of buy outs and layoffs as they streamlined the staff and rationalized the editorial process. They also sold off other assets-like TV stations to get the cash needed to make the transition. That process has largely been completed.

    I agree that there is a bias problem in the political coverage and on the opinion pages. It is neither Democratic or Republican, but rather a corporatist centrist viewpoint that manages to aggravate progressives and conservatives equally. They are just as hostile to Bernie Sanders as they are to Trump.

    They are also heavy handed in comment moderation. Comments too negative to their viewpoint get posted, but often many hours to days later- preventing them from being seen by most readers. Comments that follow the company line get posted almost immediately. Supposedly moderation is now mostly automated, so that is suspicious.

    The recent handling of the Tom Cotton op-Ed is also a problem. I disagree with my Senator on most things, but his voice as a Senator is important and worthy of the opinion page.
    edited June 2020 DogpersonJWSCGrayeagleGeorgeBMac
  • Reply 10 of 89
    I see this hurting the NYT way more than Apple. 
    razorpitmatrix077lolliver
  • Reply 11 of 89
    chasmchasm Posts: 2,404member
    palmlag said:
    Readership down because they are ultra left mouth piece press

    Ah, the ignorant American turns up right on cue.

    A) You haven't got the FAINTEST idea of what "ultra left" actually means.
    B) The NYT is barely rated as ever-so-slightly left, but that's only because they continue to print fact-based articles.
    C) Readership is way up for the paper generally, in point of fact -- which proves:
    D) You're the one in the bubble, spouting right-wing parrot points.

    Also: I note the article does not say they are leaving Apple News+. It's an odd omission.
    roundaboutnowDogpersonDAalsethrob53minicoffeelkruppcaladanianviclauyycbloggerblogjahblade
  • Reply 12 of 89
    chasmchasm Posts: 2,404member
    paxman said:
    I am an on and off Apple News user.  I like that it is right there and I like the breath of choice, but I am not crazy about having news curated in the way I think it is (not certain). When I read news I don't really want to only read what I already think. It is not that I read every angle of a story, but I like being presented with a range of topics and articles within one publication. I like the NYT and may subscribe independently. Apple news is trying hard to balance between easy access, tabloid layout and article length with a ton of adds within many articles. I like it but it has not hit the sweet spot for me
    Apple doesn't curate what you see in your News feed; you do -- by selecting areas of interest and publications you like. They "curate" the sources only to the extent of ensuring that the material is truthful and accurate (which of course means a lot of fringe sites can't even get in the door). You can easily diversify your feed by deliberately choosing a wider range of publications.

    While the NYT is definitely worthy of your support, there's also Apple News+, which offers more in-depth material for people who like to read more informative stories all across the spectrum of interests.
    edited June 2020 minicoffeeRayz2016lolliver
  • Reply 13 of 89
    fotoformatfotoformat Posts: 302member
    snip... "the NYT business, which is enjoying higher digital subscriber revenue..."

    I'm on the other side of the pond, in France, and immediately took up their 1-year digital subscription offer of $3 a month rising to $8 after one year, although that pricing seems very low for them to enjoy "higher revenue". However, and regardless of their political bias, I do like 
    their culture columns... and, three Sudokus a day from easy to hard to really wake me up before breakfast made the subscription price worth it for me.
    Dogpersonspheric
  • Reply 14 of 89
    silvergold84silvergold84 Posts: 107unconfirmed, member
    Apple give a good occasion to all the media. They should improve their impartiality and to write good articles. New York Time will lose to be out from Apple News. 
  • Reply 15 of 89
    fastasleepfastasleep Posts: 5,843member
    sdw2001 said:
    The opinion pages have now utterly infected the news room. They are 100% propaganda and fake news at this point.  Anyone who has researched it knows they played an integral part in the “spygate“ scandal.  
    Citing a debunked conspiracy theory to back up your claim the NYT is “fake news”? Yeah, no. Wonder where you got that idea. 🤔 
    minicoffeejeffharrisGeorgeBMacsphericlolliverDancingMonkeys
  • Reply 16 of 89
    JWSCJWSC Posts: 1,053member
    I’m surprised A.I. turned comments on for this article.  Anything about the NYT was bound to be decisive.
    razorpit
  • Reply 17 of 89
    Maybe they’d have a better connection if they’d just report the news in the news sections. 

    Editorials are whatever in any pub. 

    But with the news, it gets old having some aggro spin on whatever the subject is. Weird little jabs here and there that just don’t belong. It’s like they try to steer your thinking rather than present the facts for you to process. 


    entropysmatrix077ibillchemengin1cat52
  • Reply 18 of 89
    kkqd1337kkqd1337 Posts: 368member
    I’m not sure there is a martlet for news aggregators. I think people generally like to shop around and pick and choose their sources independently. 

    I know I certainly don’t need someone curating my news for me.
    entropysrazorpitmuthuk_vanalingamjeffharriscat52
  • Reply 19 of 89
    grbladegrblade Posts: 92member
    NYT had a problem with “quality journalism”
    way before Apple News. 
    razorpitibillchemengin1cat52
  • Reply 20 of 89
    entropysentropys Posts: 3,202member
    kkqd1337 said:
    I’m not sure there is a martlet for news aggregators. I think people generally like to shop around and pick and choose their sources independently. 

    I know I certainly don’t need someone curating my news for me.
    This. No one gets to choose what articles I read, regardless of source. This app deserves to fail.
    razorpitmuthuk_vanalingam
Sign In or Register to comment.