NY Times CEO on Why Media Publishers Should Be ‘Leery’ of Planned Apple News Service

“We tend to be quite leery about the idea of almost habituating people to find our journalism somewhere else,” Mark Thompson says

New York Times CEO Mark Thompson said that he has reservations about Apple’s soon-to-be-released paid subscription news service and is “leery” about the Times’ participation in the service.

“We tend to be quite leery about the idea of almost habituating people to find our journalism somewhere else,” Thompson said in an interview with Reuters on Thursday. “We’re also generically worried about our journalism being scrambled in a kind of Magimix (blender) with everyone else’s journalism.”

Apple is expected to introduce the service at a Silicon Valley event on Monday. Media reports have described the plan as a way to create a “Netflix for News” — signing up hundreds of publishers and allowing users access in return for a single fee. The move is part of a broader plan for the company to compete in the streaming space against already well-established industry leaders like Netflix and Amazon.

Thompson, however, suggested that broadcasters got a raw deal after signing up with Netflix in 2007.

“If I was an American broadcast network, I would have thought twice about giving all of my library to Netflix,” he continued to Reuters. “Even if Netflix offered you quite a lot of money. … Does it really make sense to help Netflix build a gigantic base of subscribers to the point where they could actually spend $9 billion a year making their own content and will pay me less and less for my library?”

Apple has floated the new service as a potential savior of the publishing industry, which in recent years has been beset by layoffs and contractions.

Earlier this week the New York Times reported that it would not take part in the service, joining the Washington Post in declining. Each paper has significantly expanded during the Trump era and boasts a large and growing base of loyal digital subscribers.

The Wall Street Journal is expected to join the service.