Apple thinks it might have a simple way to attract wary publishers to Apple News — give them a larger slice of app sales. TechCrunch reports that Apple has launched a News Partner Program that lowers the tech firm’s cut of App Store subscriptions from 30 percent to 15 percent “from day one” if qualified publishers provide their content in the Apple News Format. Outlets previously had to wait until an app’s second year on the App Store before Apple’s share dropped to 15 percent.
The apps themselves have to deliver “original, professionally authored” news and, unsurprisingly, allow auto-renewing subscriptions through the App Store. If a publisher isn’t located in one of Apple News’ existing markets (currently the US, UK, Australia and Canada), it can still qualify for the program by providing an RSS news feed.
The move could satisfy publishers that avoided Apple’s in-app subscription system, if not the App Store entirely, due to the 30 percent initial cut. You might see more publications on Apple News (if not necessarily News+) as a result. However, it’s not clear if antitrust regulators will be thrilled. The program does show that Apple can be more flexible with App Store fees, but it’s also an incentive for publishers to dive deeper into Apple’s ecosystem.
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