What's going on?
Apple said on Monday that it’s buying Texture, the “Netflix of magazines”. It’s the latest sign of Apple’s plans to use content to help build out its fast-growing “services” business.
What does this mean?
Texture is an app that allows users unlimited access to more than 200 magazines, including household titles such as National Geographic and The New Yorker, for a fixed monthly fee. Ironically, it was created by big magazine publishers like Condé Nast in an effort to prevent losing control of their distribution to the likes of Google and Apple. Texture will continue to be operated as a separate company for now (and keep servicing Android users as well), but it seems likely that it will eventually be incorporated into Apple’s existing News app.
Why should I care?
For markets: Services are Apple’s future – and content plays a big role.
Apple is aiming for more than $50 billion in annual services revenue by 2021 (tweet this) from business lines like its App Store and Apple Music. One of its strategies is evidently to focus on delivering content, whether that’s music (with its acquisition of Beats), books (it also bought BookLamp, which is sort of the “Netflix of books”) or video (via Apple TV). This is its latest step in that strategic direction. One big question is whether it would ever go further and buy an established streaming service.
The bigger picture: Apple is betting that the curation of news is still a valuable service.
Facebook, under pressure over the proliferation of “fake news” on its platform, has notably shied away from news of late, saying that it will instead focus its News Feed on promoting content generated by family and friends. Apple, however, is doubling down on news, although it evidently believes that curation is an integral part of providing a news service that users value.