Apple has a new offer for publishers: join Apple News, and it’ll only take 15 percent out of your in-app purchases and subscriptions instead of 30. Publishers can apply to Apple’s News Partner Program to take that bargain, but they have to agree to Apple’s requirements, which naturally benefit Apple and go beyond just maintaining a channel in Apple News.
Although the list of eligibility requirements is quite short, it’s worth sharing.
Maintain an Apple News channel in Australia and Canada. You must also publish content to this channel in Apple News Format. You must share content via RSS feeds if you are not located in these regions.
The primary function of your app must be to deliver original, professionally-authored news content.
Your app must be on the App Store. It must also allow users to buy auto-renewable subscriptions via Apple’s inapp purchase system.
An additional addendum must be signed by the Apple Developer Program License Agreement by the Account Holder for Apple Developer Program Membership.
So publishers are expected to maintain their Apple News channel, publish in the Apple News Format (ANF), and offer an app in the App Store that offers auto-renewable subscriptions and only “original, professionally-authored news content.” Apple claims that the News Partner Program will support and fund organizations that educate their readers about news media literacy and make further efforts to diversify newsrooms.
A DRAMATIC REDUCTION OF FEES
Although it is more work to maintain and publish an app in a separate format, it may be worth the effort. This could also be a relief from what Apple has asked publishers in the past. Apple takes a traditional 30 percent commission on in app subscriptions. This drops to 15% after one year. However, there were rumors that Apple was asking for 50 percent from publishers before Apple News launched. Naturally, news publishers weren’t very happy about that, especially once they found out Amazon got special treatment.
It’s unclear if The News Partner Program will attract former publishers such as The New York Times after the rough treatment. This is also important considering the antitrust lawsuits that Apple is currently involved in in the US and internationally. But the company hasn’t exactly been one to consider the optics of major business shifting decisions as of late, so maybe it’s hoping publishers won’t either.