Apple Acquires the Digital Magazine Service Texture
In a press release today, Apple said it would acquire Texture, a digital magazine service that gives iPhone and iPad users unlimited access to a stable of 200-plus magazines for a single monthly fee. (Texture also provides apps for Android, Kindle Fire, and Windows.) Apple did not disclose how much it would be paying Texture’s current owners: Condé Nast, Hearst, Meredith, Rogers Media, and KKR.
Julio Ojeda-Zapata mentioned Texture briefly last year in “Lightening the Vacation Tech Load” (14 May 2017) as a way of bringing magazines to read while traveling. He ended up opting instead for the Zinio for Libraries service through his local public library, which offered many of the same magazines for free. Zinio for Libraries has since merged with RBdigital, from the Recorded Books company, and you’ll need a new app. Check your public library’s Web site for RBdigital support. I just used my Tompkins County Public Library card to activate an RBdigital account, and now I have more magazines on my iPad Pro than I possibly have time to read.
The magazine world hasn’t been terribly healthy of late, with numerous publications dropping their expensive print magazines in favor of their online versions. However, Apple must feel that it can expand Texture’s user base sufficiently to contribute real money to its Services revenues, which earned $8.4 billion last quarter and pulled in more than the iPad and the Mac (“Apple Posts Record Profits in Q1 2018, Though Unit Sales Flatten,” 1 February 2018).
Eddy Cue, Apple’s senior vice president of Internet Software and Services, said, “We are committed to quality journalism from trusted sources and allowing magazines to keep producing beautifully designed and engaging stories for users.”
Apart from that PR-speak, Apple revealed nothing about what it intends to do with Texture in the press release. However, in an interview at the SXSW conference live-blogged by Zac Hall of 9to5Mac, Cue said that Apple plans to integrate Texture’s content into Apple News. Part of the goal there is to present stories to readers while avoiding the concern with fake news. Interestingly, he noted that a year ago, Apple News users followed an average of 4 publications, but that’s now up to 20.
Here’s a list of all the magazines currently in Texture’s catalog.
Bloomberg is now reporting that Apple is planning to integrate Texture into Apple News and have a paid subscription.
With commentary from “Gene Munster, a longtime Apple analyst”… sigh. Wish journalists tracked peoples records…
I don’t know Gene personally since he’s too new to the Apple scene, but there was an article about him a few years ago when he left Piper Jaffray.
And they should have spoken to a “longtime Apple analyst” who has at least a clue about the publishing or the streaming entertainment business. This doesn’t make any sense at all:
"Repeating the success of the Beats deal with a Netflix for news will be difficult, according to Gene Munster, a longtime Apple analyst and co-founder of Loup Ventures.,“People pay for music, they pay for video, and most news services are ad-supported,” he said. “If Apple launches this as a similar business to Texture, they likely won’t have many subscribers.”
If Mr. Fenster read any of the very extensive number of ad trade publications over the past months, he’d have seen some of the very extensive coverage about Apple testing with Doubleclick to expand ad sales in News.
I posted this to the list yesterday, but I sent it to the wrong addy:
An Apple News/Texture combo seems to have Google and Facebook really spooked:
Virtually magazine loses a lot of money on print subscription and newsstand sales and the costs of paper, postage, printing, shipping, distribution and customer acquisition keep going up and up. The costs of maintaining a website and acquiring online subscribers aren’t cheap. Optimizing for mobile devices adds extra cost, and mobile ad adjacencies for mobile advertisers are a whole other can of worms. Facebook’s shift away from publisher content in Newsfeed made the scenario even worse. Most probably Texture was started by a group of the biggest magazine publishing companies because they needed any penny they could get.
I haven’t read anything about how much Apple paid for Texture, and I think it probably wasn’t much of anything at all. Certainly it was nothing remotely resembling what it paid for Beats. If Apple plays its cards right, it has a lot to gain from this purchase, and the publishers have nothing to loose. They are already sharing revenue with the ads that appear News, as well as with anything from the Doubleclick test + subscriptions and merchandise from the Apple Store and iBooks. I’ll bet Apple will put together attractive pricing structures for their services, including something with the not-so-secret streaming video service.
Tim Cook and the late, lamented Steve Jobs repeatedly stressed how important services would always be to Apple’s hardware sales. This shebang could make services even better.
Which reminds me. Is anyone still quoting Rob Enderle about Apple? He has
about a 0% success rate with Apple predictions and has (or had) huge
conflicts of interest that made him anything but an independent analyst.
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