The tech giant announced at the annual South by Southwest Interactive (SXSWi) conference on Monday that it’s acquiring Texture, a digital magazine subscription service. Charging $9.99 a month, Texture customers get access to more than 200 magazines including People, Time, National Geographic, Esquire, GQ, The Atlantic, Rolling Stone, and more. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
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This surprising acquisition indicates an increasing seriousness from Apple to tackle the news industry, at a time when the spread of fake news has proven to be an extremely difficult problem for other Silicon Valley companies like Google, Facebook, and Twitter to handle.
Texture is currently owned by major publishers like Condé Nast, Hearst, Meredith, and Rogers Media, so all of its content comes pre-vetted and without many of the appropriateness issues found on other social media platforms. That could prove to be a major selling point for people interested in reading credible information on a regular basis — but of course, it comes at a price.
In the long run, the acquisition makes lots of sense and certainly won’t be Apple’s first strategic push into the digital news industry. The company’s existing Apple News app currently pulls articles from a wide variety of publishers and presents them in a streamlined fashion. Some of the publishers featured in the app are also available in Texture. In the Apple News app, however, those articles appear without the better-looking magazine design that you get when you subscribe to Texture.
It’s not clear yet whether Texture will be folded into Apple News or continue to exist as a standalone product. It’s easy to imagine both being part of the same app at some point — becoming a one-stop shop for news buffs who want access to both paywalled and free content.
The deal will also help Apple flesh out its growing services (i.e. subscription-based) revenue stream. Apple still generates almost all of its revenue from iPhone sales, and as part of is ongoing strategy to diversify its revenue sources, the company is pushing harder into services. The company already offers Apple Music and iCloud, both of which offer paid subscriptions.
“We are committed to quality journalism from trusted sources and allowing magazines to keep producing beautifully designed and engaging stories for users,” said Apple’s senior vice president of internet software and services, Eddy Cue, in a statement.