The Cost of Apple News

Ben Thompson (Stratechery):

What makes subscriptions work is an alignment between editorial and business model: the former is incentivized by quality and differentiation because the payoff is a customer with a high lifetime value…

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The proposed Apple News model, on the other hand, which pays out according to reader engagement, pushes in the opposite direction — the Facebook direction. The motivation is “to maximize clicks” and “win a pageviews arms race”; sure, the driver isn’t low-margin advertising, but shifting the means of monetization doesn’t change the ends as far as incentives go.

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