Business News Deals Digital Media

Apple buys “Netflix of magazines”

By | Published on Tuesday 13 March 2018


Apple has bought US-based Texture, what is sometimes dubbed as the “Netflix of magazines”. The company provides digital access to articles from over 200 magazines for a flat monthly fee.

Originally called Next Issue, the magazine subscriptions app was backed by a bunch of media companies. It launched in 2010 in an era when magazine owners hoped that the then new iPad – and the digital editions publishers were creating for it – might result in consumers being persuaded to pay to access online content in a way they never had with websites.

In the main that grand plan didn’t work out, although in 2016 the boss of Texture, John Loughlin, said his service had “hundreds of thousands” of subscribers. It’s not clear exactly what Apple – which has dabbled itself in apps that re-present newspaper and magazine content with Newstand and now the News app – plans to do with its new acquisition. However, it has committed to continue supporting the Android version of it.

The services side of the tech giant’s business, originally something of a loss-leader to make its devices more attractive, has become a more central part of the company’s operations in recent years, with Apple Music leading the way in that domain.

If Apple could increase the profile, and boost the subscriber numbers, of a service like Texture that could be helpful to magazine owners, many of which are still desperately trying to find ways to make money out of digital content as print circulations continue to slide.

Rolling Stone and entertainment industry trade mags Billboard, Variety and The Hollywood Reporter are already available via Texture. Other music titles would likely be interested if Apple’s ownership saw the magazine app’s userbase start to significantly increase. Although, it has to be said, that’s by no means assured.

Confirming the deal, Apple SVP Eddy Cue said: “We’re excited Texture will join Apple, along with an impressive catalogue 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”.

Meanwhile the aforementioned Loughlin added: “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”.