Publishers complaining about 'atrocious' revenues from Apple News

Posted:
in General Discussion
News publishers surveyed about the Apple News app report poor sales despite being able to reach 90 million readers, and claim that Apple News is failing to display the number of ads expected.




A sample of seven major publishers contributing to Apple News claims that all report extremely low sales of advertising around their stories and also unusually low numbers of ads being shown to readers in the first place. In the survey by Digiday, one publisher said they earn less than $1,000 per month while another quoted "low five-figures" monthly.

Publishers can sell their own ads but advertisers are seemingly not buying. One reason is said to be because of Apple's "limited user targeting" which means publishers can't track readers in order to sell them more relevant ads.

When an ad space isn't sold directly by the publisher, Apple News sells it via NBCUniversal which offers publishers a rate of between $3 and $4 per thousand clicks. According to the publishers surveyed, this is a reasonable rate, but not enough ads are being shown to make it profitable.

The number of times an ad is shown is called the fill rate. A 100 percent fill rate means an ad was shown to a reader every time it could be. Digiday reports that one publisher saw a fill rate of around 20 percent.

That source is then quoted as explaining that this "atrociously low" number means publishing on Apple News is less profitable than Google or even Facebook Instant Articles.

Apple News app on iPhone
Apple News app on iPhone


Other publishers surveyed had better results, and while none significantly better, every publisher reported that their overall audience has grown in the last year.

None of this would bode well for Apple's forthcoming subscription service, currently believed to be called "Apple News Magazines." Publishers are reportedly balking because of Apple's revenue demands.

However, one existing Apple News publisher told Digiday that the subscriptions they were able to get via the current service was good. "We've been pleasantly surprised with the revenue from subscriptions," the unnamed publisher said.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 20
    Frankly. What else should publishers say?
    yea we are super happy with the split, actually we would be happy to get less?

    the only way to get more in a negotiation is to be unhappy with the current offer...
    racerhomie3entropyslolliver
  • Reply 2 of 20
    Why would anyone want news selected by Apple? There is no demand for this. Particularly when Apple is not objective and completely open with respect to news. Apple has a political agenda and its pre-selected sources reflect that bias. Most people have the wherewithal to get the news from the sources they deem reliable without the screening of a Big Brother tech company.
    mike54allmypeoplejbdragonentropysbeowulfschmidt
  • Reply 3 of 20
    crowleycrowley Posts: 6,050member
    Why would anyone want news selected by Apple? There is no demand for this. Particularly when Apple is not objective and completely open with respect to news. Apple has a political agenda and its pre-selected sources reflect that bias. Most people have the wherewithal to get the news from the sources they deem reliable without the screening of a Big Brother tech company.
    I want.  I like Apple News, and haven't seen any obvious political agenda.  Contrarily, I see a surprising amount of Fox News and other right wing sources on my feed.
    racerhomie3foregoneconclusionmacxpressbonobobminicoffeeDave Kapbshanklolliver
  • Reply 4 of 20
    As a consumer I have a hard time mustering sympathy for publishers.  As a semi-disinterested observer, I can understand their gripe.  9to5 detailed their issues a little better.

    "Publishers said there were three problems with Apple News monetization.

    First, Apple’s privacy focus means they can’t take advantage of the most profitable form of advertising: highly targeted ads.

    Second, Apple also prohibits the use of something known as ‘programmatic advertising’ – when ads are sold by software rather than human beings. This also rules out real-time bidding, when ads sold to the highest bidder in automated auctions.

    Third, while Apple claims that it will sell any unsold ad slots, it has a terrible track-record for achieving this, leaving anywhere from 75% to 85% of slots unsold." - 9to5mac

    That sounds like a terrible business proposition.  But hey, if they want to deal with Apple they know they have to put on their big boy pants.  


    designr
  • Reply 5 of 20
    Why would anyone want news selected by Apple? There is no demand for this. Particularly when Apple is not objective and completely open with respect to news. Apple has a political agenda and its pre-selected sources reflect that bias. Most people have the wherewithal to get the news from the sources they deem reliable without the screening of a Big Brother tech company.

    As far as I know you select the topics/people you want to see news on and Apple serves it up. I have yet to see a specific political bias. Still it’s not the first place I’d go to get my news. Some topics I follow bring back articles that are weeks/months old. I have a hard time seeing how Apple will get customers to give them a monthly fee for this unless the product is significantly improved.
  • Reply 6 of 20
    Contrarily, I see a surprising amount of Fox News and other right wing sources on my feed.
    Yeah, Fox News regularly shows up in the 'Trending Stories' section, which is independent of the personal choices that you make for your own news interests.
    lolliver
  • Reply 7 of 20
    Probably because apple news has 2-3 ads per article while newsites have close to 25 ads per article. To the point of it being confusing to read.
    mike54jbdragonbshanklolliver
  • Reply 8 of 20
    mike54mike54 Posts: 348member
    I find Apple News not a source of news, but a convenient way to know what the mainstream media wants us know or not know.

    Not enough ads? Never enough ads for those companies.
    allmypeoplejbdragonmobirdentropyslolliver
  • Reply 9 of 20
    Maybe, just maybe, ads aren’t the right model for profit these days…. Maybe profits for informing is just so… primitive. 
    lolliver
  • Reply 10 of 20
    Apple News is useless beyond belief. In Safari, with adblock on, I have a favourites list of all sorts of news sites I want to visit.
    jbdragon
  • Reply 11 of 20
    People are missing the whole point of a subscription service. It's correct that no one is going to pay for the current free version of Apple News, but you are comparing a news aggregation of free article to one where you would have access to the articles behind paywalls. Just two or three subscriptions to a news journal or magazine would cost more than the likely monthly fee Apple would charge. Folks are missing out on how attractive that would be to millions of people who don't want to pay for, or manage, multiple monthly subscriptions to magazines or news journals. If they can get WSJ or NYT in a package with magazines and other newspapers for $9.95 a month, this will take off like a rocket
    bonobobcommand_ffastasleepbshanklolliver
  • Reply 12 of 20
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 21,235member
    Notsofast said:
    People are missing the whole point of a subscription service. It's correct that no one is going to pay for the current free version of Apple News, but you are comparing a news aggregation of free article to one where you would have access to the articles behind paywalls. Just two or three subscriptions to a news journal or magazine would cost more than the likely monthly fee Apple would charge. Folks are missing out on how attractive that would be to millions of people who don't want to pay for, or manage, multiple monthly subscriptions to magazines or news journals. If they can get WSJ or NYT in a package with magazines and other newspapers for $9.95 a month, this will take off like a rocket
    Apple reportedly wants to keep half the profits, with the remainder split between all the pubs? You might be talking less than a dime, maybe far less, for the NYT. That publishers might not be excited should be understandable, but of course some consumers would be for something that's essentially "free". Seems very Amazon-ish.
  • Reply 13 of 20
    pcamppcamp Posts: 1unconfirmed, member
    Apple news was extremely biased towards one sided political crap. I repeatedly told them about it as I'm sure many others did. Then their ads were repetitive non relevant garbage. I'm sure this is because they don't know what customers actually want with no tracking, or whatever. I gave up and may look at the dribble they show once a day and realize how awful it is in a very short time. The you can't delete the app a all, so it's like they are forcing their news onto machines and when you look, they are telling you what to look at, even when you attempt to pick interests. Even those are geared towards one-sided views. Apple is losing a lot of my time with things like this. I used to be a fan-boi, but now I am just tired of them pushing crap out with no real benefit for me. "News" is a huge one of those things.
  • Reply 14 of 20
    Notsofast said:
    People are missing the whole point of a subscription service. It's correct that no one is going to pay for the current free version of Apple News, but you are comparing a news aggregation of free article to one where you would have access to the articles behind paywalls. Just two or three subscriptions to a news journal or magazine would cost more than the likely monthly fee Apple would charge. Folks are missing out on how attractive that would be to millions of people who don't want to pay for, or manage, multiple monthly subscriptions to magazines or news journals. If they can get WSJ or NYT in a package with magazines and other newspapers for $9.95 a month, this will take off like a rocket
    Agreed, I thought this was the point. The attraction to me would be as you stated and freedom from ads (or from huge numbers of them anyway.

    Quality journalism costs money and I'd rather directly reward those that I perceive to be providing it than just give my time in scrolling past ads.
    lolliver
  • Reply 15 of 20
    Why would anyone want news selected by Apple? There is no demand for this. Particularly when Apple is not objective and completely open with respect to news. Apple has a political agenda and its pre-selected sources reflect that bias. Most people have the wherewithal to get the news from the sources they deem reliable without the screening of a Big Brother tech company.
    This is FUD. Where is your news selected by Apple in the app? There's the spotlight that their editors choose—you can easily ignore that if you're uninterested—and if you don't like the defaults, you simply choose channels you want, bar channels you don't, add any subscriptions that you might have, and (if you opt to) Siri will make suggestions for other channels from your browsing history. There's no screening by Apple involved.
    lolliver
  • Reply 16 of 20
    crowleycrowley Posts: 6,050member
    pcamp said:
    Apple news was extremely biased towards one sided political crap. I repeatedly told them about it as I'm sure many others did. Then their ads were repetitive non relevant garbage. I'm sure this is because they don't know what customers actually want with no tracking, or whatever. I gave up and may look at the dribble they show once a day and realize how awful it is in a very short time. The you can't delete the app a all, so it's like they are forcing their news onto machines and when you look, they are telling you what to look at, even when you attempt to pick interests. Even those are geared towards one-sided views. Apple is losing a lot of my time with things like this. I used to be a fan-boi, but now I am just tired of them pushing crap out with no real benefit for me. "News" is a huge one of those things.
    You can delete News.  I think Apple isn't the guilty one for one-sided views.
    lolliver
  • Reply 17 of 20
    pcamp said:
    Apple news was extremely biased towards one sided political crap. I repeatedly told them about it as I'm sure many others did. Then their ads were repetitive non relevant garbage. I'm sure this is because they don't know what customers actually want with no tracking, or whatever. I gave up and may look at the dribble they show once a day and realize how awful it is in a very short time. The you can't delete the app a all, so it's like they are forcing their news onto machines and when you look, they are telling you what to look at, even when you attempt to pick interests. Even those are geared towards one-sided views. Apple is losing a lot of my time with things like this. I used to be a fan-boi, but now I am just tired of them pushing crap out with no real benefit for me. "News" is a huge one of those things.
    This is all bullshit. You can delete the app, or you can only follow Breitbart and Fox News and block everything else if you want to live in fantasy land. But, manufactured outrage! 
    lolliver
  • Reply 18 of 20
    As a consumer I have a hard time mustering sympathy for publishers.  As a semi-disinterested observer, I can understand their gripe.  9to5 detailed their issues a little better.

    "Publishers said there were three problems with Apple News monetization.

    First, Apple’s privacy focus means they can’t take advantage of the most profitable form of advertising: highly targeted ads.

    Second, Apple also prohibits the use of something known as ‘programmatic advertising’ – when ads are sold by software rather than human beings. This also rules out real-time bidding, when ads sold to the highest bidder in automated auctions.

    Third, while Apple claims that it will sell any unsold ad slots, it has a terrible track-record for achieving this, leaving anywhere from 75% to 85% of slots unsold." - 9to5mac

    That sounds like a terrible business proposition.  But hey, if they want to deal with Apple they know they have to put on their big boy pants.  


    FWIW, "highly targeted ads" are probably what piss people off when browsing the web.

    Show me an ad that has nothing to do with anything I did or looked at, I can ignore it without any problem. Show me the same products I just bought on Amazon again and again, all day for a few days and I get really pissed off.

    n2itivguylolliver
  • Reply 19 of 20
    Apple News is certainly a bit biased to the left, despite what people on the left want to think (they seem to never be satisfied thanks to the insatiable specter of 'oppression').

    But Apple News is actually much more objective than I expected. I should use it more often.
    lolliver
  • Reply 20 of 20
    As a consumer I have a hard time mustering sympathy for publishers.  As a semi-disinterested observer, I can understand their gripe.  9to5 detailed their issues a little better.

    "Publishers said there were three problems with Apple News monetization.

    First, Apple’s privacy focus means they can’t take advantage of the most profitable form of advertising: highly targeted ads.

    Second, Apple also prohibits the use of something known as ‘programmatic advertising’ – when ads are sold by software rather than human beings. This also rules out real-time bidding, when ads sold to the highest bidder in automated auctions.

    Third, while Apple claims that it will sell any unsold ad slots, it has a terrible track-record for achieving this, leaving anywhere from 75% to 85% of slots unsold." - 9to5mac

    That sounds like a terrible business proposition.  But hey, if they want to deal with Apple they know they have to put on their big boy pants.  


    FWIW, "highly targeted ads" are probably what piss people off when browsing the web.

    Show me an ad that has nothing to do with anything I did or looked at, I can ignore it without any problem. Show me the same products I just bought on Amazon again and again, all day for a few days and I get really pissed off.

    That's true... from a consumer perspective.  I personally don't like ads whether they're targeted or not.  My quote is addressing a business perspective though.  From that perspective, it's terrible.  The primary, secondary, and tertiary beneficiary in that scenario is Apple.  Bit of hyperbole, yes.  The point being, I can understand publishers not wanting to get involved with that.  I certainly wouldn't.  Pubs are just going to have to decide if the additional eyes are worth it.
Sign In or Register to comment.