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Apple launching ‘Netflix for magazines’ after buying digital distribution app Texture

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jasper hamill

Apple launching 'Netflix for magazines' after buying digital subscription app
Tech giant to launch Spotify-style subscription service for journalism (Photo: Getty)

Apple has bought digital magazine distributor Texture to extend its subscription services beyond music and online storage.

The deal announced Monday puts Apple in control of a service often described as a Netflix of magazines. Texture allows readers to pore over articles in more than 200 magazines for $10 per month, much like Netflix sells unlimited access to its video programming.

But Texture hasn’t proven as popular as Netflix, which boasts 55 million subscribers in the U.S. alone. Texture hasn’t specified how many subscribers it has, but CEO John Loughlin said in a 2016 interview that the number ranged in the ‘hundreds of thousands’.

Apple didn’t disclose how much it paid for Texture, which had raised at least $90 million since it was founded nearly a decade ago as Next Issue. The magazine distributor had been owned by investors that included Condé Nast, Hearst, Meredith, Rogers Media and KKR.

‘We are committed to quality journalism from trusted sources and allowing magazines to keep producing beautifully designed and engaging stories for users,’ said Eddy Cue, Apple’s senior vice president of internet software and services.

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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.

Texture will join a stable of Apple subscription options that are anchored by the company’s music-streamingg service, which has 36 million subscribers.

Apple also sells additional storage in its iCloud service to customers who exceed the free limit of five gigabytes.

The deal could be fantastic news for the media, as it heralds the arrival of a new Spotify subscription-style service which would allow people to pay to read magazines.

But it will also provoke questions about press freedom, because Apple is likely to enforce strict guidelines on the sort of content which can be published.

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