Canadian media partners are involved with Apple’s subscription services

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Apple TV+ and the all-new Apple TV app.

 Apple Inc. announced a subscription news service Monday that counts the Toronto Star, La Presse, CTV News and Global News among its Canadian content suppliers.

“There are several reasons why we’re doing this,” Bob Hepburn, a spokesman for the Toronto Star, said in a phone interview.

“First of all, we’re going to be paid for the content that appears on Apple News+ unlike (with) the other tech giants that use our content without paying.”

“Second of all, this complements our push to build a recurring revenue business which, in print publications, is critical.”

“And the third reason is: our content will be available to millions and millions of new readers who don’t normally see our content,” Hepburn said.

The arrival of Apple’s subscription news service comes as most traditional media organizations, particularly print publications, are struggling with a loss of advertising revenue that has largely gone to Facebook, Google and their affiliates.

For its part, Apple Inc. is looking for ways to offset declining sales of its hardware _ such as the iPhone smartphone _ by adding a range of services that work with its various products, including the subscriber version of its Apple News.

Apple vice-president Roger Rosner said in a webcast from Cupertino, Calif., that Apple’s news service is different from others because it uses the “on-device intelligence” to help select what’s presented to its users.

“That means we don’t know what you read and, in addition to that, we don’t allow advertisers to track you,” Rosner said.

The Apple News+ subscription service will primarily include American content from magazines such as Vogue, People, Sports Illustrated, Wired, and The Wall Street Journal financial newspaper.

Canadian content will include The Hockey News, published by Roustan Media, as well as some of the consumer magazine and digital titles being sold by Rogers Media to St. Joseph Communication, including Chatelaine and Maclean’s.

Two of Canada’s largest TV news sources _ Corus Entertainment’s Global News and Bell Media’s CTV _ are included in Apple’s subscription service as well as Bell’s TSN and RDS sports services.

Other French-language Canadian content include La Presse and Le Devoir, two of Quebec’s prominent news publications.

“Being a part of Apple News will allow La Presse to continue its mission of producing quality journalism, accessible to everyone,” Pierre-Elliott Levasseur, president of La Presse, said in a statement.

The Apple News+ service will require an update of the operating systems to iOS 12.2 for iPhone and iPad mobile devices or to macOS 10.14.4 for Apple laptops, which began to be disseminated Monday.

Apple Canada says the subscription news service will cost $12.99 a month, after a free preview month.

Hepburn said he couldn’t discuss the Star’s agreement with Apple, which also didn’t disclose details of its agreements.

However, he said some of the material available from the Toronto Star’s own digital subscriptions, including articles from iPolitics and The Canadian Press, won’t be included with Apple News.

Apple announced a new streaming service, Apple TV Plus, which will house its original shows and movies and could compete with Netflix, Amazon and cable TV itself.

Apple is making the announcements at its Cupertino, California, headquarters, in a Monday event studded with celebrities including Steven Spielberg, Jennifer Anniston, Reese Witherspoon and Steve Carell. The iPhone has long been Apple’s marquee product and main money maker, but sales are starting to decline . The company is pushing digital subscriptions as it searches for new growth.

The company also laid out the details of its news subscription service, Apple News Plus, and a new credit card.

The news service costs $10 a month and includes roughly 300 magazines and a handful of major newspapers, including The Wall Street Journal and the Los Angeles Times. Missing from the announcement were other major newspaper publishers, who have reportedly been wary of Apple’s terms. Apple says advertisers won’t track readers inside the app. That distinguishes it from Facebook and Google, the other major online news hubs.

The company also said it is launching a MasterCard credit card called Apple Card. It will integrate Apple Maps to show users where they spend money, but at the same time, Apple says it won’t know where you spend or where.

It won’t have any late fees or annual fees and offer 2 per cent cash back. Other cards also offer cash-back rewards.

But the biggest splash was its video service. Apple also noted Monday that its Apple TV app brings together different streaming services and traditional cable subscriptions.

Netflix, which didn’t show up during Apple’s presentation, turned “binge watching” into a worldwide phenomenon several years ago. Apple’s new video service is expected to have original TV shows and movies that reportedly cost it more than $1 billion _ far less than Netflix and HBO spend every year.

Making must-have TV shows and movies that are watchable on any device has turned Netflix into a force in both Silicon Valley and Hollywood.

But Apple remained focused on making on gadgets: iPhones, iPads, computers and its Apple TV streaming box for TVs. Apple co-founder Steve Jobs began toying with the idea of building a powerful TV business, but he couldn’t pull it off before his death in 2011. It has taken his successor, CEO Tim Cook, nearly eight years to draw up the script that the company will now try to execute.

“Apple is very late to this game,” eMarketer analyst Paul Verna said. “Netflix has become the gold standard in how to create and distribute content, using all the data they have about their viewers.”

Netflix’s prowess has attracted 139 million subscribers worldwide. But Apple will have several other deep-pocketed competitors fighting for consumers’ dollars. Amazon has also become a formidable force in video streaming. Walt Disney Co. is launching its own service this year, armed with an imposing library that became more formidable with its purchase of 21st Century Fox’s films and TV series. AT&T is debuting another streaming service built around HBO.

Apple has plenty of money to spend, though, with about $245 billion in cash and marketable securities. It must prove itself attractive to Hollywood even without a track record for supporting high-quality programming and then ensuring it gets widely seen.

As part of its efforts to make quick connections, Apple hired two longtime Sony television executives, Jamie Erlicht and Zack Van Amburg, in 2017. They have signed up stars such as Steven Spielberg, Ron Howard and Sofia Coppola, who spoke during a video Monday

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