In the past, Apple has made efforts to bring magazines to the digital age with unimpressive results. However, news that Apple bought Texture may mean that digital magazines are coming back to the forefront.
Texture is a company with similarities to Netflix, and they provide subscriptions to a number of publications for a flat monthly fee. Apple hasn’t come forward with what their intentions are with the purchase of Texture, but has since stated that the deal is in order to promote “quality journalism from trusted sources.” More notable is the connection this gives Apple to major publishers such as Conde Nast, Hearst, Meredith, and News Corp which may pay off in the future as Apple makes efforts to expand their reach.
At this current point, the terms of the new deal haven’t been made public, although it does appear that Texture investors will see their investment payoff after the buyout. While the Texture app will likely remain the way it is into the near future, Apple does have a track record of scaling back and then discontinuing acquisitions after they’ve integrated the technology into their own service.
As mentioned above, Apple tried to make digital magazines the hot new thing in the past, but have yet to gain any major traction in that area. Texture is a pretty large company with “hundreds of thousands” of subscribers, which means that Apple already has a decent base to work with as they make efforts to expand the reach of the digital magazine into the arms of more of their massive user base.
Eddy Cue, a top executive at Apple, is expected to discuss the purchase of Texture at SXSW. At that point, we should have more information both as to the intentions of the company with the service as well as the future of the application as it currently stands.
While the acquisition of Texture by Apple is probably a good thing for the health of the application and the service, it’s an interesting decision of the company to sell due to the origins of Texture in the first place. The app was created by big publishers back in 2012 in order to try to keep control of digital magazines in their hands rather than at the mercy of huge tech companies like Apple and Google. The sale of Texture to Apple marks the end of that commitment, for one reason or another, and we see yet again a massive corporation absorbing a smaller company into their vast collection of technology and ideas.
If a service that was so adamant about keeping the control of digital magazines in the hands of the publishers was willing to sell to a company they were hoping to compete with, it may be a sign that the digital magazine format isn’t as profitable as the companies had hoped. However, as a company with near-limitless resources, there may be no one better suited to the job to revamp the magazine industry than Apple.
If there’s one thing that’s certain, it’s that traditional magazines are starting to suffer. With how ubiquitous and easy to access online news sources are becoming, the desire to purchase a paper magazine is becoming less common for the majority of consumers. Major publishers are dealing with a lack of sales, having instead to rely on advertising revenue online in order to stay afloat – an often less profitable affair due to the prevalence of ad blockers. Texture was an inexpensive commitment for a wide number of magazines, and although the decision to sell to Apple isn’t necessarily a sign of poor business health, the fact that the major publishers were willing to hand over the reins may be a sign of limited potential in this industry.
We’ll have to wait to see what Apple will do with Texture in the coming weeks and months, but chances are that it will soon be easier to access your favorite magazines from your favorite iOS devices.