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The New York Times pulls out of Apple News

Here’s Kellen Browning and Jack Nicas of The New York Times reporting on The New York Times:

The Times is one of the first media organizations to pull out of Apple News. The Times, which has made adding new subscribers a key business goal, said Apple had given it little in the way of direct relationships with readers and little control over the business. It said it hoped to instead drive readers directly to its own website and mobile app so that it could “fund quality journalism.”

“Core to a healthy model between The Times and the platforms is a direct path for sending those readers back into our environments, where we control the presentation of our report, the relationships with our readers and the nature of our business rules,” Meredith Kopit Levien, chief operating officer, wrote in a memo to employees. “Our relationship with Apple News does not fit within these parameters.”

This is not pulling out of Apple News+, the paid tier of the service, this is pulling out of Apple News entirely. Notably, NYT never agreed to be a part of Apple News+ and while the hoopla at the time was about the reported 50/50 revenue split, I thought it seemed to go a bit beyond that:

But wait, while things are better these days for the biggest newspapers, they’re still not as they once were, so they’re really going to leave incremental revenue opportunities on the table? This seems to point to the real key here: the 50/50 split is insulting, but probably surmountable. What’s not is the same issue many of them had with the iPad Newsstand originally: they won’t get any data about subscribers who sign up for the Apple offering.

Apple eventually caved on this for the iPad, but this is different since it is a fully bundled Apple subscription offering, with NYT and the like just a part of the package. You’re buying an Apple service, not a NYT service. But without such information rights, I just don’t see the hold-outs getting on board.

Again, not only did NYT not get on board, they jumped ship entirely for the very reason above.

Still, one has to wonder if they would get back on board if, say, Apple agreed to license their news and pay them directly — something Google has said they will be doing and Facebook is already doing. With Apple News+ apparently struggling, and now Apple News itself having issues, the writing may be on the wall for this — Apple has to keep that inevitable bundle enticing!