Apple launches digital newsagency in Australia
Apple will fling open the doors to a giant digital newsagency in Australia today when it launches a subscription service delivering hundreds of national and international magazines and newspapers for a single monthly fee.
Australia will be just the third country to access the unprecedented service that will offer some of the world's most popular titles, from Vogue and Harper's Bazaar to Rolling Stone and GQ, as well as capital city News Corp newspapers from all around the country.
And industry analysts predict thousands of voracious readers will embrace the service quickly following the success of digital music and TV services in Australia.
Apple launched the service in Australia after partnering with major local publishers News Corp, Bauer Media, and Pacific Magazines.
Apple News editor-in-chief Lauren Kern said the partnerships meant subscribers would be able to access a wealth of content from Australia and around the world, from their local newspaper to The Wall Street Journal, and The Australian Women's Weekly to National Geographic.
The service, which will cost $14.99 per month and will be free for the first month, will also give readers access to past issues and deliver personal recommendations and trending stories.
"We think readers in Australia will be delighted with the offering and we are proud to support the work of our newest publishing partners," Ms Kern said.
Bauer Media digital operations and publishing executive general manager Sarah-Belle Murphy called the service an "exciting evolution" for print media, and News Corp chief executive Robert Thompson said it showed technology companies could work with publishers to benefit readers and journalism.
"We are proud to partner globally with a company that truly believes in the profundity of provenance and that there should be a premium for premium journalism," he said.
"Apple has acted positively, honourably and decisively to change the digital landscape, while other gatekeepers, such as Google, prefer hype and hypocrisy."
News Corp Australia executive chairman Michael Miller said Apple News+ would bring a wealth of content from publications including The Daily Telegraph, Herald Sun, and The Courier-Mail to new audiences, while also ensuring a future for quality storytelling.
"Apple clearly understands the importance of journalism and journalists and that the content originator should be rewarded fairly," he said.
"It recognises the importance and value of world-class journalism, bringing us new readers and reinforcing that quality journalism should be paid for."
Telsyte managing director Foad Fadaghi said Australians had eagerly embraced digital subscriptions for music, TV shows and movies, and predicted Apple News+ would deliver a boost for digital reading material.
"The magazine and news content market is really ripe for this kind of subscription solution," he said.
"Australians are already spending about $13 million a month on news subscriptions. It is a valuable market already but the arrival of Apple will help boost awareness."
Telsyte research showed more than two million Australians were committed Apple users who used five Apple devices or more, and Mr Fadaghi said he expected many of these loyal users to subscribe to News+.
"If half of those people take up this service as a trial, and even if just 10 per cent take it up after that first month, you're looking at a substantial boon for the marketplace," he said.
"It will deliver a big lift in subscriptions for news and magazine products."
Apple News+ will be available across most of the company's devices today, including iPhones, iPads, and Macs using iOS 12.2 or MacOS 10.4.4 or above.