Last month, Google unveiled a new service called Subscribe, which allows readers to use any credit card they’ve used with the company once they hit an affiliated outlet's paywall.
The first partner to launch the service was news company McClatchy, which owns the Miami Herald, Kansas City Star and Charlotte Observer, among other outlets.
Then, last week, more information about the tech company’s news elements came out. Google is revamping Google News, while incorporated elements of its Newsstand app and YouTube. Described as a “digital media destination,” the newly rebuilt Google News is expected to be unveiled at the company’s developer conference this week.
Over the past few months, publishers have also reported increased traffic, due to Google’s Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) stories, which the company plans to use in its new News iteration.
In addition, Apple is expected to use newly acquired Texture to revamp Apple News.
Texture, which operates like a Netflix for magazines, allows readers to access over 200 titles, was acquired earlier this year. Soon after acquiring Texture, Apple laid off 20 of its employees and began the process of incorporating it into its news app. Apple is expected to give publishers a cut of the profits once the new service is unveiled.
This comes as rumors swirl that Apple is interested in buying Conde Nast. Some have expressed concern that a company like Apple, which notoriously refuses to speak to the press — unless it is to counter bad press — and maintains tight control of its image, might control a large journalistic enterprise like Conde Nast.
Regardless of how Google News rolls out its new services or capitalizes on newspaper subscriptions through Subscribe, or how Apple leverages the purchase of an app like Texture or attempts to gain a bigger share of the media pie, a bigger issue has emerged:
Giant media companies are becoming more deeply engaged in the public’s daily digestion of news.
How each company might leverage its power to drive more revenue to struggling outlets has not been disclosed. And journalism needs all the help it can get. It is also important to keep an eye on which entity could decide what and how readers consume information.