One of Apple’s biggest publishing partners for Apple News+ is still waiting to be impressed by the fledgling subscription service.
Speaking at Recode’s Code Media conference this week, Condé Nast CEO Roger Lynch said the “jury is out” on the service. His less-than-enthusiastic endorsement of Apple News+ comes a week after a report claimed Apple is struggling to significantly increase the number of paid subscribers for Apple News+.
Lynch, who took over Condé Nast in April, made sure the audience knew he inherited the Apple News+ deal from his predecessors. Apple News+ launched in March of 2019. The service offers access to hundreds of magazines and newspapers for $10 per month.
“I hope Apple News Plus is wildly successful,” Lynch said, per Variety. “Whether it’s good for publishers like us or not is to be determined.”
Apple News+ reportedly had 200,000 signups in the first 48 hours of launch. Subscriber growth has supposedly been pretty slow ever since though. Apple is also reportedly debating bundling Apple News+ with Apple Music and Apple TV+ in 2020 as a way to pull in more subscribers.
Lynch has plenty of experience with subscription services which have become a bigger focus for Apple the last two years. While working for Dish he helped incubate the Sling TV streaming service. He then moved onto Pandora and help the streaming service in its acquisition by SiriusXM. Now he’s tasked with taking publications like Wired, The New Yorker, Vogue and GQ to the next level.
Many critics worried that Apple News+ would cut into some publishers’ ability to grow their own subscription businesses. Lynch told the audience that Condé Nast has not seen that effect. He also suggested that Condé Nast and could leave Apple News+ if it doesn’t work out saying “we have options.”