Apple News+ debuted in March, and, with it, over 300 magazines and a couple of major newspapers along with it.
Before the big “It’s Show Time” event, there were reports that Apple was trying to win over other major newspaper outlets, including The New York Times and Washington Post. However, those publications (and others) reportedly balked at Apple’s rumored 50/50 revenue split. And while Apple did land outlets like The Wall Street Journal, it was apparently not from a lack of trying on Apple’s part that the others did not enlist in the service.
According to a new report from Vanity Fair on Monday, Eddy Cue was in charge of negotiations with news publications to try and get them to be part of Apple News+. However, while Cue reportedly visited the offices on a regular basis, the negotiations ultimately fell through.
“Apple badly wanted to lock down at least one of them, and it began a vigorous courtship of the papers last spring, not long after the Texture deal closed and Apple’s plans for its content bundle were beginning to materialize, according to people familiar with the matter. “They put a tremendous amount of pressure on,” one source said. “Eddy Cue was in and out of their offices really trying to woo them.””
Cue, unsurprisingly, focused primarily on the outreach Apple has thanks to the number of devices it has out in the wild, the majority of which can access Apple News+ right out of the box. However, one area that Cue (and Apple) was not willing to budge on was available content. Apple wanted all the access it could get, basically, which did not help matters:
“They didn’t want to have limitations in terms of content,” according to a person with knowledge of the talks. But Apple dangled flexible terms governing the duration after which they could pull out, as well as exclusivity. “You’d be protected against a competitor coming in,” the same source said. “If this thing was really successful and everyone else came back to the table, there was a period where you’d have exclusivity.”
The NYT‘s chief operating officer, Meredith Kopek, provided a statement on the matter to VF, saying that the publication has always seen the direct relationship with its readers as paramount to its business. As a result, using Apple as a middleman, no matter how many devices it has out there, simply doesn’t match what it wants to do:
“We’ve been pretty deliberate about saying that the best place you can experience journalism is through a relationship with a news provider. So far for us, that has meant a direct relationship with users. The more we have a relationship with users, the better we think our business will be, and the better the experience that we can provide to them.”
You can check out the full report through the source link below.
If all of this sounds familiar, as far as negotiations on Apple’s behalf are concerned, it’s because it is familiar. Way back in 2016, just after rumors of the physical Apple TV set had died, the story changed to “bundles” that Apple was developing. However, those initial rumors turned to stories about how Apple’s negotiating tactics may have hurt those plans rather than helped. And, once again, Eddy Cue was at the forefront of those negotiations as well.
This doesn’t feel like a coincidence.
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Do you think it’s about time for Eddy Cue to step aside from negotiations?[via Vanity Fair]