It hasn’t even been a year since the $10 per month Apple News+ service launched in the US, UK, Australia and Canada and already its head of business Liz Schimel is out. Schimel was president of international business at magazine publisher Conde Nast prior to joining Apple in 2018. At Apple, Schimel oversaw relationships with advertisers and news publishers.
Bloomberg reported Wednesday that Apple is now seeking to hire “a notable name” from the publishing world to replace Schimel. Peter Stern, who oversees Apple’s services under Eddy Cue, will continue to manage Apple News+.
Launched in March 2018 as a new curated subscription service with unlimited access to more than 300 popular magazines, newspapers and digital publishers, Apple News+ has since reportedly been having trouble adding new subscribers.
According to sources, the service signed up 200,000 subscribers within the first 48 hours of availability but has since struggled to boost subscriber count. Apple is said to be working on a combined bundle that would provide access to Apple Music, Apple News+ and Apple TV+.
That could help the service hit the ground running, but Bloomberg (which made the claim) didn’t give a timeframe for when the bundle might launch beyond a vague 2020 release date.
Among the problems plaguing the service are the usual rants about a counterintuitive user interface and lack of discoverability options. Do average consumers really understand that Apple News, which offers both free and paid publications, is separate from the Apple News+ service? On top of that, the service is inconsistent: while big name publishers get to optimize their publications for digital viewing on various screens through the News app, other publications that are available on the service are scanned JPGs served as PDFs.
Looking at the big picture, Apple News+ isn’t a great value at all if all you care about is digital newspapers — the service includes access to the digital editions of the Los Angeles Times and Wall Street Journal newspapers, but not the New York Times and The Washington Post, two of America’s largest newspapers. According to Condé Nast’s CEO, the jury is still out on whether Apple News+ is a boon or a detriment for publishers.
Are you subscribed to Apple News+? If so, what’s your experience with it been thus far?
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