Apple launched its News+ subscription product. It features esteemed mastheads like Rolling Stone, National Geographic, Vanity Fair, and the Wall Street Journal in a gorgeous, native Apple experience. Apple is also making an important bet on a privacy-first product strategy, promising that robots won’t track your interactions with the content and instead will emphasize human curation. Recommendations will be done on-device and not in the cloud.
But I think it’s dead on arrival. Three thoughts:
- We still seem to be stuck in the issues, editions, and magazine metaphors — we’re not coming up with a fresh, digital-first understanding of what publishing and consumption should look like for a generation of people who’ve never bought a magazine off a newsstand.
- It’s really a magazine-subscription service, which is odd because it’s meant to be a “news” product.
- It sucks having to read magazine content on a phone — this is clearly an iPad experience. But is this the best we can do? See the first bullet point.
But this is what I find especially interesting: 5-10 years ago, we would have seen this as a win for publishers. Some would even go as far as to say this is a product that would “save” journalism.
So we’re seeing a maturation of the publishing industry, one that is more confident about its relationship with its readers, and its ability to sell memberships and subscriptions. We know a bad deal when we see one.