Apple services chief Peter Stern described as well-liked, but not interested in solving me...

Posted:
in General Discussion edited March 27
Apple vice president Peter Stern, who is in charge of rounding up partners for products like Apple News+ and Apple TV+, is reportedly well liked and -- much to the chagrin of media executives -- operates in the best interests of Apple, not publishers.




Stern, who made his on stage debut on Monday to unveil Apple TV Channels, was hired in 2016 to handle Apple's cloud-based subscription services. A report to SVP of Internet Software and Services Eddy Cue, Stern was put in charge of business operations for the company's important services unit early last year.

During the intervening months, Stern has been hard at work hammering out deals for the Apple TV+ video streaming service, as well as Apple News+, a news subscription service built on the latticework of Texture. He also helms Apple Books, iCloud and advertising.

A seasoned television industry veteran with 15 years of experience garnered at Time Warner, Stern served an important role in successfully negotiating terms by which broadcasters agreed to join Apple's streaming service, reports Digiday.

"I'd list him as one of my favorite partnership contacts," Cheddar CEO and founder Jon Steinberg told the publication. "Smart, direct, fast, delivers on what he promises."

Sources also described Stern as interested only in the needs of Apple, its new subscription ecosystem and its customers. The executive is not a figure seen as willing or able to address the concerns of the wider industries impacted by Apple's forays into video and news.

"He's a company man," said a person who previously worked with Stern. "Peter is not the type to take on the plight of the publishers."

The business models of both broadcast and print media are under duress as major technology companies enter the distribution channel, upending decades of strategy.

Netflix is a prime example of an industry disruptor. Hollywood studios were eager to strike deals with the one-time DVD rental giant, perhaps without fully understanding the ramifications of their actions. Building on a base of third-party content, Netflix has grown a substantial audience and now fields its own catalog of original shows.

For news outlets, a group already fighting to survive, the specter of third-party digital distribution is more pronounced. With Apple News+, for example, companies must weigh the benefits of exposure to new readers against relatively onerous revenue sharing terms.

Apple, for its part, markets itself as a champion of quality news, but established brands like The New York Times beg to differ. And for Apple, Stern sits at the center of the scrum.

Gautam Mishra, CEO of news subscription service Inkl, discussed Apple News+ with Stern and, like the report's first unnamed source, came away with the sense that he has no interest in solving issues endemic to the industry.

"[Stern] is going into this with a very specific mandate," Mishra said. "He's not trying to solve the long-term problems facing journalism. His view on this is that Apple has a firm view of how it wants to do things and what's in the best interest of its customers. That takes primacy over things like sustainability, cannibalization."

The viewpoint is to be expected from an executive, even one working for a company that routinely touts its high-minded ideals. Apple is, at the end of the day, a corporation.

At least one important Apple News+ partner is not overly concerned about potential downsides to Apple's for-pay news experiment. The Wall Street Journal publisher William Lewis in an interview on Monday said News+ will help the paper reach new readers, and not at the cost of existing subscriptions sold through its first-part platform.

"It's an era of product segmentation," Lewis said. "So there are millions of people that will continue to want to become Wall Street Journal members and have the full offering that centers on business and markets and finance and hard-core politics ... but there's also millions that will be attracted to a slightly different offering ... that's more snackable."

It should be noted that the WSJ is not offering its entire catalog on News+, but will instead offer a sampling to be curated by editor Matt Murray. The paper is providing access to all business and financial news, which is searchable in the News app, though News+ subscribers are limited to the past three days of archived articles.

Apple News+, which debuted on Monday alongside Apple TV+ and Apple Arcade, is available now for a $9.99 monthly fee. Pricing for Apple TV+ and Apple Arcade have not been announced.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 20
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 31,108member
    So... he’s doing his job? I don’t understand what’s going on here. Are the publishers trying to get him fired?
    magman1979leighc-sfomac_dogDeelronleavingthebigghmurchisonStrangeDays
  • Reply 2 of 20
    So... he’s doing his job? I don’t understand what’s going on here. Are the publishers trying to get him fired?
    Exactly. Is the implication that other Apple execs are somehow different?! Or that they should be?

    Btw, where was Cue? Did he show up at all? (I’ll admit I missed the first 15 minutes or so. And got back to my day when Ms. OW showed up.) 
    leighc-sfoSpamSandwich
  • Reply 3 of 20
    rob53rob53 Posts: 2,032member
    So... he’s doing his job? I don’t understand what’s going on here. Are the publishers trying to get him fired?
    Exactly. Is the implication that other Apple execs are somehow different?! Or that they should be?

    Btw, where was Cue? Did he show up at all? (I’ll admit I missed the first 15 minutes or so. And got back to my day when Ms. OW showed up.) 
    I believe I saw him during a pan of the crowd. 

    I agree with with both of you, he’s doing what he’s supposed to do—everything he can to support Apple and its customers. 
    magman1979leighc-sfoSpamSandwichStrangeDays
  • Reply 4 of 20
    flydogflydog Posts: 279member
    I read this a few times thinking I missed something, but still not sure what the news is here.  He works for Apple and acts in Apple's best interests.   The article even admits that this is expected from any company executive, which eviscerates any raison d'etre this article might have had when it was first conceived.

    Must have run out of how to rearrange icons on your home screen articles. 
    edited March 26 leighc-sfoTuuborleavingthebigg
  • Reply 5 of 20
    sflocalsflocal Posts: 4,617member
    Newspapers, magazines, etc... are going through some serious changes.  Sounds like these content "partners" think that they hold the ball when in reality, they just have a bad poker face. If Apple doesn't do this, someone else well.  Their industry is dying in its current form.
    mac_dog
  • Reply 6 of 20
    ...as the article intimates, is the fundamental problem http://thecorporation.com/ ... ?

    If there was ever a 'corporation' that might tackle such an issue might it be Apple ?

    Is that actually the plan...?

    Or is Apple simply boiling frogs with a trojan horse of internal (vs marketed) data collection that is promised as 'secure' (for now?) and kept from 3rd parties (not yet externally monetized) under 'we care about privacy' representation (caring is one thing, is guaranteeing another?), and yet forever enshrined (and validated for highest ultimate value) in the iCloud servers...?

    Given the Patriot Act and the current administration (make America what again?) supported by so many, I'd ask who should rely on any representation promoted beyond such psychic or national borders...?

    the sequel http://thecorporation.com/#block-views-news_and_events_blog-feat

    edited March 26
  • Reply 7 of 20
    AF_HittAF_Hitt Posts: 77member
    ...as the article intimates, is the fundamental problem http://thecorporation.com/ ... ?

    If there was ever a 'corporation' that might tackle such an issue might it be Apple ?

    Is that actually the plan...?

    Or is Apple simply boiling frogs with a trojan horse of internal (vs marketed) data collection that is promised as 'secure' (for now?) and kept from 3rd parties (not yet externally monetized) under 'we care about privacy' representation (caring is one thing, is guaranteeing another?), and yet forever enshrined (and validated for highest ultimate value) in the iCloud servers...?

    Given the Patriot Act and the current administration (make America what again?) supported by so many, I'd ask who should rely on any representation promoted beyond such psychic or national borders...?

    the sequel http://thecorporation.com/#block-views-news_and_events_blog-feat

    Which brings me to my next point, kids.... don’t do crack!
    beowulfschmidtSpamSandwich
  • Reply 8 of 20

    Now I really like the guy! Doing what's good for the company and customers.

    Why would he be interested in solving the problems faced by the publication industry? Isn't it up to them to solve their own problems?

    I'm sure Music executives felt the same way when Apple started iTMS and Apple Music.

  • Reply 9 of 20
    hydrogenhydrogen Posts: 221member


    I'm sure Music executives felt the same way when Apple started iTMS and Apple Music.


    "They need us more than we need them" syndrom ...
  • Reply 10 of 20
    Print media is dying. Apple tried to bail them out when they did that news stand app. But all of them still wanted to charge the same as they did for a print magazine, even though it was purely digital. Apple offering everybody a relative cut of only 50% sounds kind of funny, but I suspect it's in part due to them having to do a lot with the content to format it, or they expect a lot of overhead. Or that was the deal Texture originally had and they saw no reason to change it. Also I suspect magazines are probably pretty used to not getting a ton of money back every month. Ultimately magazine content isn't that special outside of a few select titles;. Even then.
  • Reply 11 of 20
    LatkoLatko Posts: 382member
    He IS very much involved and solving the problems of the Print industry: threatening them with an even bigger issue - not being on Apple’s Newsstand
    edited March 27 cornchipSpamSandwich
  • Reply 12 of 20
    larryjwlarryjw Posts: 372member
    Print media is dying. Apple tried to bail them out when they did that news stand app. But all of them still wanted to charge the same as they did for a print magazine, even though it was purely digital. Apple offering everybody a relative cut of only 50% sounds kind of funny, but I suspect it's in part due to them having to do a lot with the content to format it, or they expect a lot of overhead. Or that was the deal Texture originally had and they saw no reason to change it. Also I suspect magazines are probably pretty used to not getting a ton of money back every month. Ultimately magazine content isn't that special outside of a few select titles;. Even then.
    You're kidding, right. The cost of printing is the minor cost of "print" media. It's the content that counts. And, one still needs to format an article regardless of whether its final destination is print or digital. And, I would argue, the cost of digital is MORE expensive than print -- one is actually writing a computer program  in a specially designed language to digitally render content -- programmers are expensive as well as the programs. 

    Nobody has ever saved money by going digital. 
    cornchip
  • Reply 13 of 20
    spice-boyspice-boy Posts: 812member
    Be careful when you believe in "saviors" you will not find it in Apple of any other 3rd party entity. 
    gatorguy
  • Reply 14 of 20
    NotsofastNotsofast Posts: 381member
    larryjw said:
    Print media is dying. Apple tried to bail them out when they did that news stand app. But all of them still wanted to charge the same as they did for a print magazine, even though it was purely digital. Apple offering everybody a relative cut of only 50% sounds kind of funny, but I suspect it's in part due to them having to do a lot with the content to format it, or they expect a lot of overhead. Or that was the deal Texture originally had and they saw no reason to change it. Also I suspect magazines are probably pretty used to not getting a ton of money back every month. Ultimately magazine content isn't that special outside of a few select titles;. Even then.
    You're kidding, right. The cost of printing is the minor cost of "print" media. It's the content that counts. And, one still needs to format an article regardless of whether its final destination is print or digital. And, I would argue, the cost of digital is MORE expensive than print -- one is actually writing a computer program  in a specially designed language to digitally render content -- programmers are expensive as well as the programs. 

    Nobody has ever saved money by going digital. 
    Yes, there are costs in formatting a digital paper/magazine, but they are largely the same with the newsprint version as that has all been "computerized" for many years, as typesetting moved from a labor intensive process to a digital one, ala "desktop publishing."   Thus, everyone has been formatting, writing, etc., their papers and magazines in a digital version to transfer to printing anyways since the early 90's.

     What you are missing are the massive distribution costs of a printed version digital versions. They aren't even close.  The paper, printing, storage, transportation, delivery, etc., etc., costs of actually delivering a product to your door is so massive that it has driven out so many publishers, and those costs increase with every additional sale/subscription. Some magazines are hanging on even though they are losing money on delivering you a copy, but they need your eyeballs for their ad sales; hence that's why so many are predominantly ads.  Digital is exactly the opposite. When millions more people read the WSJ on Apple News+, there won't be ANY additional costs for the WSJ for those readers. 
    edited March 27
  • Reply 15 of 20
    bwallsbwalls Posts: 6unconfirmed, member
    It would be nice if someone came up with an overall vision of how to create a long-term, stable funding stream for creating quality content. Journalism is essential to democracy. Sit coms, not so much. Apple could potentially take that on, and if done well it could end up making a lot of money. I guess the point of the article is that News+ and TV+ aren't some comprehensive fix, they are Apple becoming a player in the existing market. Remember they tried to provide an alternative to Amazon for book publishers, and got soundly punished for it in favor of protecting Amazon's right to sell at a loss and destroy their competition. Apple may have lost the taste for that sort of public good. The internet is very bad news for middle-men who have made lots of money between producers and consumers. If they aren't adding value, they are going to be disrupted, and if the value can be added more cheaply by a script or an AI, they are in trouble, too. Good riddance, in those cases. On the other hand, when the replacement doesn't actually provide the same level of value, or where the cost to the consumer is being subsidized by selling off democracy/privacy/environment/etc., it's not actually a free market, and there is a problem needing fixing. That's where good government comes in; relying of a benevolent corporation or rich genius to protect the commons is very risky.
  • Reply 16 of 20
    canukstormcanukstorm Posts: 1,919member
    bwalls said:
    It would be nice if someone came up with an overall vision of how to create a long-term, stable funding stream for creating quality content. Journalism is essential to democracy. Sit coms, not so much. Apple could potentially take that on, and if done well it could end up making a lot of money. I guess the point of the article is that News+ and TV+ aren't some comprehensive fix, they are Apple becoming a player in the existing market. Remember they tried to provide an alternative to Amazon for book publishers, and got soundly punished for it in favor of protecting Amazon's right to sell at a loss and destroy their competition. Apple may have lost the taste for that sort of public good. The internet is very bad news for middle-men who have made lots of money between producers and consumers. If they aren't adding value, they are going to be disrupted, and if the value can be added more cheaply by a script or an AI, they are in trouble, too. Good riddance, in those cases. On the other hand, when the replacement doesn't actually provide the same level of value, or where the cost to the consumer is being subsidized by selling off democracy/privacy/environment/etc., it's not actually a free market, and there is a problem needing fixing. That's where good government comes in; relying of a benevolent corporation or rich genius to protect the commons is very risky.
    The only way I can think of that Apple can accomplish what you're thinking of is create their own daily newspaper and fund / create their own journalistic content. I don't see that happening but then again this is a very different Apple & never thought they would make their own TV shows either.
    apricot88
  • Reply 17 of 20
    bwalls said:
    It would be nice if someone came up with an overall vision of how to create a long-term, stable funding stream for creating quality content. Journalism is essential to democracy. Sit coms, not so much. Apple could potentially take that on, and if done well it could end up making a lot of money. I guess the point of the article is that News+ and TV+ aren't some comprehensive fix, they are Apple becoming a player in the existing market. Remember they tried to provide an alternative to Amazon for book publishers, and got soundly punished for it in favor of protecting Amazon's right to sell at a loss and destroy their competition. Apple may have lost the taste for that sort of public good. The internet is very bad news for middle-men who have made lots of money between producers and consumers. If they aren't adding value, they are going to be disrupted, and if the value can be added more cheaply by a script or an AI, they are in trouble, too. Good riddance, in those cases. On the other hand, when the replacement doesn't actually provide the same level of value, or where the cost to the consumer is being subsidized by selling off democracy/privacy/environment/etc., it's not actually a free market, and there is a problem needing fixing. That's where good government comes in; relying of a benevolent corporation or rich genius to protect the commons is very risky.
    The only way I can think of that Apple can accomplish what you're thinking of is create their own daily newspaper and fund / create their own journalistic content. I don't see that happening but then again this is a very different Apple & never thought they would make their own TV shows either.

    edited March 27
  • Reply 18 of 20
    That’s what I was thinking as well: Apple could have ambitions to become a publishing giant. After all, with Apple Arcade, Apple is co-funding the development of games. Apple could easily replicate this model with publishing and the news media.  
  • Reply 19 of 20
    AF_Hitt said:
    ...as the article intimates, is the fundamental problem http://thecorporation.com/ ... ?

    If there was ever a 'corporation' that might tackle such an issue might it be Apple ?

    Is that actually the plan...?

    Or is Apple simply boiling frogs with a trojan horse of internal (vs marketed) data collection that is promised as 'secure' (for now?) and kept from 3rd parties (not yet externally monetized) under 'we care about privacy' representation (caring is one thing, is guaranteeing another?), and yet forever enshrined (and validated for highest ultimate value) in the iCloud servers...?

    Given the Patriot Act and the current administration (make America what again?) supported by so many, I'd ask who should rely on any representation promoted beyond such psychic or national borders...?

    the sequel http://thecorporation.com/#block-views-news_and_events_blog-feat

    Which brings me to my next point, kids.... don’t do crack!
    ...well finding sleep tracking on after the latest 'upgrade' and without what I would consider express notice or consent (I'm sure it is buried in the interminable EULA somewhere) has me asking if Apple is reading the microsoft playbook...?

    For consideration of data mining in perspective and how far cultural expectations have been 'influenced' try Anti Social A Modern Dating Horror Story Comic Relief Originals - YouTube

    Don't think data is being collected ? Really ? Reading the 'Apple News & Privacy' statement one can clear history, yet it is always 'on' as is siri search by default.

    'As a convenience to you, Apple uses iCloud to keep aspects of your experience up to date on all your devices'...'to remember which channels and topics you folow, your reading history, and your reading preferences' 'your reading history is stored for up to 3 months'

    'if you have disabled this feature, please note that the channels and topics you follow, your reading history, and your reading preferences are still backed up to iCloud if iCloud backup is enabled'

    ...and on it goes... 'serving customers' 

    So has the name of the game become move the shells around and make things increasingly layered and complex and thus increasingly obfuscating a customer's ability to understand or meaningfully control (beyond the appearance of such) what information is kept or where....?  

    Is this in fact the actual antithesis of Jobs introduction of the iPhone as a phone simple enough no manual is needed ?  Has Apple DNA (as it is promoted) actually turned 180˚, like pro towers that are so proprietary that the older models are still highly sought after for their flexibility, to even add something as simple as a hard drive ?

    Can print media compete when such potential traps are being laid by digital media and offered to advertisers...?

    https://appleinsider.com/articles/19/03/27/att-ceo-claims-hbo-will-glean-consumer-data-from-apple-tv-viewers
    edited March 28
  • Reply 20 of 20
    1st1st Posts: 362member
    business only going to last when benefit for both parties.  besides, you got be careful not bite the hands (content  provider and customer) that feed you.  The industry has long memories, hopefully, he (Peter) can navigate his ship correctly.  IMHO.  
    Looking forward for his input - better be good for the long run - not like "Mozart in Jangle" - the last two just hard to watch - look like travel ads from Japan, no substance...
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