Apple’s News app already aggregates news stories and videos, grabbing content from multiple sources to reformat and republish for users of iOS, iPadOS, and macOS devices. Today, the company formally announced a special partnership with ABC News for coverage of the 2020 U.S. presidential election that will see the companies work together on live video streams and other coverage, beginning in early 2020 and continuing through the presidential inauguration in 2021.
Under this arrangement, Apple News will begin to feature ABC News videos and livestreams starting with the February 7, 2020 Democratic primary debate in New Hampshire, which has historically been an important early state for candidates, as well as partnering for the debate with both ABC News and WMUR-TV. Apple will also include FiveThirtyEight polling data and analysis, despite that organization’s infamously incorrect projections of a large Hillary Clinton victory in the 2016 presidential election.
Following the New Hampshire debate, the organizations will work together to cover debates through Super Tuesday, the Republican and Democratic National Conventions, general election debates, election night, and the 2021 presidential inauguration in Washington, D.C. It’s unclear how much of a role Apple, which forged a controversial relationship with President Donald Trump early in his administration, will play in shaping coverage of the election.
Apple and ABC News are framing the deal as an opportunity to bring live coverage and “responsible analysis” to an Apple News audience of “millions of people.” In prior election cycles, Apple has spotlighted political content in a banner at the top of the Apple News app, drawing extra attention to the work of selected partners. No mention was made of the companies’ plans for Apple News+, the $5/month newspaper and magazine subscription service that has reportedly seen weak uptake from consumers and continued concern from publishers since its introduction earlier this year.