Reuters reports Apple is planning to add the ability for publishers to control subscription content via Apple News. Currently, all content on Apple news is available free. With support for subscriptions, websites could limit the number of free articles Apple News users could read before requiring them to purchase a subscription.
By making paid content available through its News app, Apple would give publishers a way to maintain relationships with readers and perhaps attract new subscribers.
It is unclear how Apple would authenticate subscribers or if it would take a cut of payments from readers who become subscribers through the app. Apple declined to comment.
Currently, subscriber-based publications that publish content via Apple news can now either share the content for free, or publish an excerpt and require readers to log on to their websites to read the rest of the article.
“Ensuring subscription mechanisms in our off-platform distribution partnerships is critical,” said Katie Vanneck-Smith, chief customer officer of Dow Jones, which publishes the Wall Street Journal. Dow Jones is working with Apple and others to take advantage of new platforms, she added. She declined to comment on the specifics of conversations with Apple.
Publishers have been frustrated by the limited information Apple supplies to them about the readers of their content. Offering publishers the ability to control subscription content could smooth the rocky road between Apple and the content suppliers.
The Apple News app debuted alongside iOS 9 in September. Apple announced in October that the service has 40 million users. The company has relationships with more than 100 publishers. However, Apple recently announced that due an internal glitch, they had been under reporting user numbers for the service.