Apple’s News Partner Program looks like either a desperate attempt to get more stories into Apple News, a way to deflect the heat from mounting antitrust scrutiny, or both.
The new News Partner Program offers publishers the following deal: If you “maintain a robust Apple News channel,” then Apple will halve its cut of your in-app subscription sales. Right now, Apple is under pressure to reduce the rent it seeks for letting publishers and developers sell stuff for its platforms, with various antitrust investigations slowly lumbering into action. At the same time, Apple News is the laggard of Apple services, and could do with a boost.
“When Apple was first rolling out Apple News+ in 2019, they initially wanted a 50% commission but settled with a 30% commission. The new partner program drops that to 15%, which is a desperate attempt to win back publishers who have either refused to join the platform, or abandoned it, like The New York Times,” Sam Borcia, CEO and publisher of the Lake & McHenry County Scanner digital newspaper, told Lifewire via email.