Apple’s plan to save News app: subscription-only content

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Paid content is coming to the News app.
Paid content is coming to the News app.
Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

Apple’s News app that came preinstalled with iOS 9 hasn’t exactly taken off like the company hoped it would, but a new report claims Apple is planning to give the app and publishers a big boost by adding subscription-only content.

In a move to differentiate itself from the likes of Facebook’s Instant Articles and Flipboard, Apple plans to allow readers to view content they subscribe to within the News app. Two sources who spoke with Reuters say the new feature will give publishers a new way to control who sees their content by showing paywall content to readers.

Publishers with subscription-only content currently can only promote it through Apple News by showing a sort preview and then directing users to read it through Safari, or by giving away content for free. By adding a layer of authentication to the News app Apple could make the user experience much more seamless which should attract more readers to the app.

It’s currently unclear how Apple would authenticate which publications you have a subscription to, or if it will take a 30% cut on new subscribers like it does through the app store.

Adding subscription-only content is likely to please publishers even more than users. Many top publications have been frustrated with the lack of user data Apple provides. The addition of paid content we be a welcomed addition, giving publishers a better way to maintain relationships with subscribers, and maybe even pick up some new paid readers as well.