Apple announced today that it is acquiring digital magazine distributor Texture from Next Issue Media, a company owned by magazine publishers Condé Nast, Hearst, and Meredith; telecom Rogers Media; and investment company KKR. Texture offers an all-you-can-eat subscription pass to over 200 magazines for a monthly fee.
“We’re excited Texture will join Apple,” said Eddy Cue, Apple’s senior vice president of internet software and services, “along with an impressive catalog of magazines from many of the world’s leading publishers. We are committed to quality journalism from trusted sources and allowing magazines to keep producing beautifully designed and engaging stories for users.”
Apple has struggled with the digital magazine business since introducing the iPad in 2010. Originally heralded as a breakthrough for the struggling magazine industry, the iPad was pitched to publishers as a bold new format for print and online articles, and soon offered a Newsstand feature specific to digital magazines and newspapers. Fights between Apple and publishers over everything from revenue sharing to subscriber data led Newsstand to languish and eventually disappear from iOS devices. It was replaced by News, an app that focuses on aggregating news articles from sources across the internet.
Though Next Issue’s service has been offered since the early days of the iPad and reportedly still has yet to attract over a million subscribers, Texture could enable Apple to monetize some of the News content and spotlight specific publishers. Apple’s press release characterizes it as the “leading multi-title subscription service giving users the ability to instantly access some of the most widely read magazines while on the go.” It’s unclear whether the service’s $10 monthly pricing and publication list will remain the same or change following the acquisition.
At SXSW today, Apple’s Cue spoke onstage about the acquisition, saying that Apple plans to integrate Texture’s content into the News app; scattered reports have suggested for two years that Apple was considering a paid subscription offering within News. Cue suggested that Apple’s goal is to promote trusted sources, and thereby avoid the fake news articles that have gained traction in recent times, a topic that Cue and Apple CEO Tim Cook notably spotlighted one year ago at an industry conference.