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The New York Times Calls It Quits With Apple News

By Danny Vena – Jun 29, 2020 at 6:28PM

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This is the first high-profile defection — and it may not be the last.

The New York Times (NYT -2.58%) announced today that it is breaking off its partnership with Apple (AAPL -1.51%) News and will no longer supply the company with articles. Effective Monday, stories from the Times will no longer appear in the curated feed of the Apple News app, making it the highest-profile publishing partner to abandon Apple. 

The Times has recently focused on adding new subscribers to its rolls and feels that the current partnership with Apple doesn't give the company a way to directly connect with readers or foster relationships that could eventually result in future subscribers. By concentrating its efforts on driving the audience directly to its website and mobile app, the Times is hoping it will result in paying customers who will help "fund quality journalism." 

The Apple News App on a Mac, iPad, and iPhone.

Image source: Apple.

In the first quarter, the Times added 587,000 net new digital subscribers, a quarterly record, bringing its total digital subscriber base to more than 5 million. Across both digital and print, it climbed to more than 6 million.

"Apple News does not align with our strategy to fund quality journalism by building direct relationships with paying readers," a Times spokesperson said. "We believe quality publishers should be fairly compensated for the expensive proposition of creating and providing platforms valuable independent journalism." 

Apple News has roughly 125 million monthly readers. It takes a 30% cut for any subscriptions that originated on its app, cutting heavily into the publisher's take.

In a statement, Apple responded, saying that The New York Times "only offered Apple News a few stories a day," so the move wouldn't result in a noticeable change for Apple News readers.

Danny Vena owns shares of Apple. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Apple. The Motley Fool recommends The New York Times. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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