Apple News+ isn’t a good deal for publishers, but it could have been worse

Last month, when terms of Apple’s new deal for journalism were announced, I warned that it looked like a bad deal for publishers. The company was asking for 50 percent of all revenue, and planned to pay on the basis of how frequently readers consumed a publisher’s articles. And just as on Facebook and Google News before it, publishers would get no control over the placement of their stories, or direct relationship with their subscribers. It was one more algorithm standing in between journalists and their audiences — and at a time when digital media companies are rapidly shedding jobs, Apple’s offer looked truly grim.

It was all the more surprising when, in the days leading up to today’s announcement, it was reported that the Wall Street…

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