The service had hundreds of thousands of subscribers as of 2016. Apple announced today that it signed an agreement to acquire the digital magazine service Texture, which serves articles from more than 200 magazines digitally on iOS, Windows, Amazon, and Android devices for a flat monthly fee. Apple has acquired the entire company, including staff, and has assured users that the Android version of the app will still be supported. The price of the acquisition was not disclosed. Texture was founded in 2010 and was formerly called Next Issue until it rebranded in 2015. It was chiefly founded and owned by a group of major magazine publishers, but it also raised $50 million from other investors. It launched during a time when the magazine industry harbored some optimism that the iPad and other tablets would be popular platforms for premium subscriptions as an alternative to the Web, which was dominated by tech companies like Google. As digital magazines like News Corporation's The Daily folded, it became clear that future wasn't panning out. Nevertheless, a 2016 report from The New York Post quoted Texture CEO John Loughlin saying that the service had "hundreds of thousands" of subscribers at that time. Apple has made a few similar acquisitions in the past. It acquired Beats in 2014, which included not only the company's hardware but its streaming music service, which ultimately led to Apple Music. Also in 2014, Apple acquired BookLamp, a service that distributed books in much the same way that Texture distributes magazines. In this case, though, we don't know what Apple has planned for Texture in the future. Here's the statement offered by Apple SVP Eddy Cue: We're excited Texture will join Apple, along with an impressive catalog of magazines from many of the world's leading publishers. We are committed to quality journalism from trusted sources and allowing magazines to keep producing beautifully designed and engaging stories for users. And the statement from Loughlin: I'm thrilled that Next Issue Media and its award-winning Texture app are being acquired by Apple. The Texture team and its current owners, Condé Nast, Hearst, Meredith, Rogers Media, and KKR, could not be more pleased or excited with this development. We could not imagine a better home or future for the service. Apple already sells digital magazine issues and subscriptions through its online services, and Amazon and Google each offer digital newsstands for magazines, too. Even Facebook has tested digital news subscriptions. Neither of the executive quotes included with Apple's announcement gives any conclusive hints as to what Apple plans to do with the service after the acquisition. Cue's choice of words in "trusted sources" may be relevant, though, as the acquisition comes at a time when journalists and publishers have been vocal with criticism of other tech companies that have played a part in distributing or curating the written word, like Google and Facebook, and public concern has focused on the distribution of untrustworthy content on those companies' platforms. Disclaimer: Ars Technica is owned by Condé Nast, which was a partial owner of Texture prior to the acquisition.
Apple announced today that it is acquiring digital magazine distributor Texture from Next Issue Media, a company owned by magazine publishers Condé Nast, Hearst, and Meredith; telecom Rogers Media; and investment company KKR. Texture offers an all-you-can-eat subscription pass to over 200 magazines for a monthly fee. Were excited Texture will join Apple, said Eddy Cue, Apples senior vice president of internet software and services, along with an impressive catalog of magazines from many of the worlds leading publishers. We are committed to quality journalism from trusted sources and allowing magazines to keep producing beautifully designed and engaging stories for users. Apple has struggled with the digital magazine business since introducing the iPad in 2010. Originally heralded as a breakthrough for the struggling magazine industry, the iPad was pitched to publishers as a bold new format for print and online articles, and soon offered a Newsstand feature specific to digital magazines and newspapers. Fights between Apple and publishers over everything from revenue sharing to subscriber data led Newsstand to languish and eventually disappear from iOS devices. It was replaced by News, an app that focuses on aggregating news articles from sources across the internet. Though Next Issues service has been offered since the early days of the iPad and reportedly still has yet to attract over a million subscribers, Texture could enable Apple to monetize some of the News content and spotlight specific publishers. Apples press release characterizes it as the leading multi-title subscription service giving users the ability to instantly access some of the most widely read magazines while on the go. Its unclear whether the services $10 monthly pricing and publication list will remain the same or change following the acquisition. At SXSW today, Apples Cue spoke onstage about the acquisition, saying that Apple plans to integrate Textures content into the News app; scattered reports have suggested for two years that Apple was considering a paid subscription offering within News. Cue suggested that Apples goal is to promote trusted sources, and thereby avoid the fake news articles that have gained traction in recent times, a topic that Cue and Apple CEO Tim Cook notably spotlighted one year ago at an industry conference.
Apple is buying a digital magazine subscription service known as the Netflix of magazines, which lets readers access over 200 magazines for a monthly fee. The acquisition of the service Texture, owned by Next Issue Media, comes at a time when news publishing as an industry is being shaken up by fake news accusations and Facebooks changing algorithms in ways that prioritize friend activity over brands. The bridge between tech companies and journalism continues to narrow with Apples latest purchase. Apple already delivers curated news from third-party publishers through its Apple News platform. In a statement, Apples SVP of internet software and services, Eddy Cue, said, We are committed to quality journalism from trusted sources and allowing magazines to keep producing beautifully designed and engaging stories for users. It might also be an effort on Apples part to match competitors like Google, which offers news through its Play Store, and Amazon, which has its own subscription reading services. Apple is buying the entirety of Next Issue Media and bringing on its full staff, with the deal expected to close soon, according to TechCrunch. Texture will continue to offer iOS, Android, Amazon Kindle Fire, and Windows 10 apps. Details of how much Apple is buying Texture for remain undisclosed. Apple previously chose the Texture app as one of its most innovative iOS apps back in 2016. Texture is owned by Condé Nast, Hearst, Meredith, News Corp., Rogers Communications, and Time Inc, which founded the app and Next Issue Media as an effort to monetize digital media. Texture costs $9.99 a month and offers access to magazines including The New Yorker, People, Time, and GQ.
It's a bid to keep magazines relevant in the internet era. Apple's bids to promote digital magazines haven't always been fruitful (remember The Daily?), but it's about to give them another boost. The company has acquired Texture, the Netflix-style magazine subscription service that gives you access to a host of publications for a flat monthly fee. Apple wasn't specific about its intentions for the Texture team, but the deal reflects its commitment to "quality journalism from trusted sources." It also noted that the buyout gave it an "impressive catalog" of magazines -- the connection to major publishers (Conde Nast, Hearst, Meredith and News Corp) may be as important as the service itself. The terms of the deal haven't been made public, although Recode understood that investors who pumped $50 million into Texture owner Next Issue Media will "get their money back. " The publishers are reportedly happy, too. We've asked Apple what will happen to Texture's existing apps and service. The software is currently available across a variety of platforms, including Android and Windows 10. Apple doesn't always discontinue apps right away (it kept HopStop running for two years), but it has been known to scale back and eventually discontinue services as it integrates their features. Apple's Eddy Cue is expected to discuss the Texture purchase at SXSW, and we'll let you know if he has more to add. It's not certain if this will augment the company's existing services (such as the News app or iBooks) or will lead to something entirely different, but this could significantly change the nature of online magazine distribution. Heavyweight publishers launched Next Issue and Texture in 2012 precisely to take control of digital magazines rather than handing the reins to companies like Apple or Google. The deal brings that plan to an end -- Apple will now play a major role in the fate of those magazines.
As the debate continues over fake news and the role that aggregators like Facebook have played in spreading it, Apple is making an acquisition that could help it lay out a position as a purveyor of trusted information. The iPhone maker is buying Texture, a magazine virtual newsstand thats known as the Netflix of magazine publishing that gives readers access to around 200 magazines for a monthly fee of $9.99. Were excited Texture will join Apple, along with an impressive catalog of magazines from many of the worlds leading publishers, said Eddy Cue, Apples senior vice president of Internet Software & Services, in a statement. We are committed to quality journalism from trusted sources and allowing magazines to keep producing beautifully designed and engaging stories for users. From what we understand, Texture — formerly known as Next Issue — will continue to operate as is with no changes — meaning that it will continue to offer apps for iOS, Android, Amazon Kindle Fire and Windows 8 and 10. Apple is acquiring the full company, including employees, and the deal is expected to close very soon. Im thrilled that Next Issue Media, and its award-winning Texture app, are being acquired by Apple, said John Loughlin, CEO of Next Issue Media / Texture, in a statement. The Texture team and its current owners, Condé Nast, Hearst, Meredith, Rogers Media and KKR, could not be more pleased or excited with this development. We could not imagine a better home or future for the service. Apple has made a number of acquisitions that are adjacent to the area of publishing and media that Texture focusses on — they include Spotify/Pandora competitor Beats for Apple Music, and BookLamp, which we described as the Pandora for books when we broke news of that acquisition. Texture, it seems, is the first that it has made directly in the area of magazine publishing. Financial terms of this deal are not being revealed, and Texture has never disclosed its valuation. Before it rebranded in 2015, Texture (then known as Next Issue Media) was a joint venture between Condé Nast, Hearst, Meredith, News Corp., Rogers Communications, and Time Inc. The company, it appears, has raised at least $90 million — $40 million from the publishers, and an additional $50 million from KKR and other investors that include BuzzFeed, Vox Media and Imgur. Texture, and before it Next Issue, has been around since 2010. It was launched at a time when a number of other digital newsstands were hitting the market. Tapping into the new popularity of apps and the belief that these would become the primary way that consumers would read newspapers and magazines, publishers also believed that this could be a key way for them to better monetise their content, after missing the boat both on paywalls for online content and reaping large benefits from online ads, areas where large aggregators like Google largely reaped the rewards. Its not clear how many users Texture had. An article from 2014 estimated the number at 150,000, while this story from 2016 noted it was in the several hundreds of thousands with 50 percent growth expected in the coming years. The company had also struck deals with a number of third parties like Sprint to bundle the service with subscriptions as a sweetener for consumers to opt for their service over that of other mobile carriers. Nor is it clear what Apple intends to do with Texture longer term. One area where we could see the product end up is Apple News, where Apple already provides access to a variety of third-party content. More generally, the company has been focusing on a larger premium content play across other mediums, putting a lot of investment into music, video and podcasts. Texture fills out the scope of that vision with reading material. Apple, of course, once had a Newsstand of its own — specifically its own native app that went by that name. The service never really took off, and Apple eventually killed that product and folded it into Apple News. One reason that this is different is that it will essentially bring lots of magazines into a single format rather than offering a marketplace of essentially different magazine and newspaper apps, which seems to have been one of the pain points of the original Newsstand from the perspective of users and publisher developers. Newsstand was a terrible idea as it pushed publishers to all make (or license) their own awful apps instead of building to a standardized format like fixed-layout ePub 3 (which didn't exist at the time). Terrible experience for users to need a different app for each magazine (I have to say, it was never really clear who mandated that format at the time: it could easily have been Apple and the technical limits of the time when Newsstand first emerged in 2011, although there were other apps that also worked around that. It could easily have been publishers who thought building from the ground up, similar to their own vertically-integrated printing organisations, was the way ahead.) But in another sense, this acquisition is also simply table stakes for companies like Apple. Amazon launched its own subscription services last year, and Google of course also offers a newsstand of sorts via Google Play, so this is also about keeping up and making sure that it, too, continues to provide what all device owners increasingly want and expect. Apples Cue also took to the stage at SXSW in Austin today, whee he talked a bit about Textures place in Apples news efforts and the companys wider media and content strategy.