When the publishing industry closes one door, it opens a window. Even as Apple Inc. is threatening to shake up the mobile advertising business by enabling ad blockers on the iPhone’s Safari browser for the first time, one news outlet has potentially come up with a way to extract value from the Silicon Valley giant.
Wired magazine just published a new long-form feature article, but readers outside the Apple ecosphere will have to wait a few days before they read it. The Conde Nast-owned magazine said Friday that a story titled “Big Deal” -- an in-depth piece about the architect behind Two World Trade Center in New York -- would appear exclusively on Apple News, the company’s recently launched news-discovery platform, days before it shows up elsewhere. The feature article went live on the platform Friday at 3 p.m., but it won’t be available on Wired’s website until Tuesday, Sept. 22.
The four-day window may not seem like much, but it’s a notable strategy given the publishing industry’s growing dependence on walled-off digital platforms. The Apple News application was introduced this week as part of the company’s latest update of its mobile operating system, iOS 9. The app comes on the heels of Facebook’s Instant Articles, a feature that allows news organizations to publish stories directly to Facebook. Snapchat offers a similar feature with Snapchat Discover.
With online readers getting more of their news from mobile and social media, such self-contained ecospheres are expected to propel a shift away from individual news websites. Adding a window of exclusivity into the mix, as Wired has done, could up the stakes as tech companies compete for news content. It’s not hard to imagine the strategy one day mirroring the television industry where networks such as HBO and Showtime compete for exclusivity windows for films.
Scott Dadich, Wired’s editor in chief, said the exclusive window was an experiment of sorts cooked up within Wired, which is dedicating several developers, designers and editors to optimize custom articles for Apple News. The print version of “Big Deal” won’t be on newsstands until Sept. 29 as part of Wired’s so-called Design Issue, but Dadich said the timing of Apple’s software update made the idea seem appropriate.
“With all new platforms, there’s always a moment to experiment and play with format and timing and release,” Dadich told International Business Times. “We just viewed this as a good chance as people were updating their devices over the weekend to have a fresh story.”
Apple has already signed a number of publishers for its News. Conde Nast launched six of its titles on the service, including GQ, Teen Vogue and Vanity Fair. As Re/code reported this month, publishers keep 100 percent of the revenue for the ads they sell, while Apple splits revenue with publishers on the ads it sells.
Dadich said the exclusive window did not involve any additional financial arrangement with Apple. Wired also said it will monetize content on Apple News by selling sponsorships to advertisers, adding that Ford Motor Co. was one of the first sponsors to sign on.
As some Web users of a certain age may recall, Wired was among the first magazines to put its content online, launching a site called HotWired in October 1994. The site went live as Time Inc.’s Pathfinder within the same week. The magazine was also among the first print publications to release a digital edition for the iPad in 2010.