Media Companies Take a Big Gamble on Apple

Media Companies Take a Big Gamble on Apple

Like many other media executives, Pamela Wasserstein was wary of tech giants and their attempts to go into business with content creators.

“There was great optimism around partnerships, and I think that optimism has largely cooled, and people are now more cautious,” said Ms. Wasserstein, the chief executive of New York Media, the publisher of New York magazine and web titles like The Cut and Vulture.

But like others in her position at publishers like Condé Nast, Dow Jones and Meredith, she put caution aside and joined Apple’s media initiative, the recently unveiled Apple News Plus app, which promises to blast out content across more than a billion devices worldwide.

The tech giant based the service on an app it acquired last year called Texture, which gave readers access to some 200 publications with a single subscription. The revamped and renamed version, introduced with much fanfare last week at the company’s headquarters in Cupertino, Calif., charges subscribers $9.99 a month ($12.99 in Canada) for content from more than 300 titles, including The New Yorker, Vanity Fair, Vogue, Time, The Atlantic and People, as well as The Los Angeles Times and The Wall Street Journal. (Also included: Airbnb Magazine, Birds & Blooms, Retro Gamer and Salt Water Sportsman, befitting the app’s conceit as an omnibus newsstand.)


Weighing the pros and cons, Ms. Wasserstein concluded that Apple News Plus would allow her publications to reach “a new audience in an environment that feels right for us.”

Going into business with a tech giant was a calculated risk. Like most publishers, New York Media had seen its revenue shrink in an internet environment where Google and Facebook scoop up advertising dollars and have great influence over what people read. (New York Media’s online sales have grown more recently. Read more

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