Apple News+ has welcomed The Guardian back to the service in the United Kingdom, almost after 5 years. The publisher delisted itself from Apple News Plus in 2017 but the latest App Store changes in commission and for reader apps have brought it back.
In 2015, the Cupertino tech giant launched its new aggregator app Apple News. The app offers a variety of news articles for free on current affairs, sports, entertainment, and other categories and also includes paid subscriptions for select news publishers and sources via in-app purchases.
In 2019, the Apple News+ subscription service was introduced which gives access to more than 300 magazines and leading newspapers like The Wall Street Journal, Vanity Fair, NewYork, The Atlantic, and People covering local and international news. Available across iOS, iPadOS, and macOS for $9.99 per month, Apple News+ also offers audiobooks and CarPlay support.
Apple News+ 15% commission and the addition of external links bring back The Guardian
After an investigation in 2020, the Japan Fair Trade Commission ruled that Apple must allow Japanese reader apps that provide “purchased content or content subscriptions for digital magazines, newspapers, books, audio, music, and video” to add external links.
But the tech giant Apple revised its App Store sign-up system for all reader apps in March 2022 and developers can now add links to their websites for users to create and manage their accounts outside the app and increase their revenue.
Furthermore, Apple News also launched a “News Partner Program” which offered a reduced 15% commission rate for all in-app purchase subscriptions in 2021 to publishers who provide content on the service in Apple News Format (ANF).
According to Press Gazette, The Guardian’s return to Apple News Plus is motivated by the latest App Store changes to grow its reach and revenue.
Press Gazette understands The Guardian has chosen to rejoin Apple News in the UK in part because the platform now allows it to sell subscriptions and accept reader donations through the app.
Additionally, because The Guardian is on Apple News in all four of the app’s home nations – the UK, US, Canada and Australia – it qualifies for a discounted commission rate.
A title that is solely on Apple News in one territory is liable to be charged a 30% commission on any subscription sales made through the app. Because The Guardian is in all four countries, its commission rate for subscriptions and reader contributions falls to 15%.
As The Guardian has been available on Apple News in the US since 2020 and Australia since 2021, the publisher saw success on the platform in the regions and decided to rejoin the service.
The Guardian’s chief executive, Anna Bateson told Press Gazette that it left the app to focus on its own platform in 2017 and was entering a partnership with Apple News Plus again to expand its reach further and avail commercial benefits.
She said The Guardian had left the app in 2017 to focus on “developing our then-nascent reader revenue proposition on our own platform.
“Since then we have continued to build our own platforms in the UK, US, Australia and globally as strong destinations, but we can also see significant opportunities to reach a wider audience for our journalism and associated commercial benefits through partnership with Apple News – who have now made it easier for publishers to generate supporter and advertising revenue from their platforms.”