Apple Buys Texture Magazine Service in Subscription Push

Dylan Byers and Eddy Cue on stage at SXSW 2018

Dylan Byers and Eddy Cue on stage at SXSW 2018

Apple said it will acquire Next Issue Media and its digital magazine subscription service, Texture, known as the "Netflix of magazines", which bundles about 200 magazine subscriptions into a monthly service. He also disclosed that the company paid US$15 million in subscription revenue to publishers in 2015.

Apple already delivers curated news from third-party publishers through its Apple News platform. Some publishers reported losing online traffic from Facebook after the social media network recently refocused on content from friends and family.

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When asked if the app is cannibalizing existing magazine subscribers, Loughlin said the service is expanding the publishing market, with only about 20 percent of Texture's subscribers dropping print in favor of the digital service. The app is now run by Next Issue Media, owned by a group of publishers and other companies including Hearst Corp., Meredith Corp., News Corp., Rogers Communications.

But a source familiar with the matter said that private equity firm KKR & Co LP, which invested $50 million in 2014, generated a "significant return" on the transaction. It replaced that with the more comprehensive Apple News service a couple of years ago.

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On Monday, just before Apple Senior VP Eddy Cue took the stage at the South by Southwest festival, the Cupertino company announced the acquisition of Texture - a magazine-reading app that could bolster its own Apple News app with content from multiple publications. "We are committed to quality journalism from trusted sources and allowing magazines to keep producing beautifully designed and engaging stories for users".

Apple didn't disclose how much it paid for Texture, which had raised at least $90 million since it was founded almost a decade ago as Next Issue.

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Unlike most Apple products, Texture will be available on devices powered by Google's Android software in addition to the iPhone and iPad. In January, it bought BuddyBuild, a Canada-based app development service.

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