Apple has been undercounting Apple News traffic due to glitch, working on fix

Posted:
in iPhone edited January 2016
Apple on Sunday said it has been sharing erroneous iOS 9 News app usage statistics with publishing partners due to an unnoticed glitch, adding that it does not know exactly how many people are currently using the service.




Apple SVP of Internet Software and Services Eddy Cue told The Wall Street Journal that publishers serving content through the iOS 9 News app have been receiving erroneous traffic data. The apparent bug went unnoticed because Apple was focusing on building out other app features.

"We're in the process of fixing that now, but our numbers are lower than reality," he said. "We don't know what the right number is."

Apple did not provide details on the glitch or mention when it was discovered, but Cue noted it is better to undercount than overcount when it comes to usage data. Accurate traffic numbers are important for online content monetization as it is used to to price and sell advertisements.

With Apple News, publishers retain all proceeds from ads they sell on their own, or 70 percent of revenue for spots sold by Apple. In both cases, Apple requires advertisements be served through its first-party iAd network, a concern for some publishers that have dedicated resources to competing services from companies like Google.

Moving forward, Cue said Apple is quickly building out new features for iAd, including a self-service ad-buying tool expected to launch in the next two months.

As for analytics, the News app currently supports limited integration of tools from comScore, though the report says publications would like easier access to more detailed information. Previously, Apple kept publishers up to date with simple emailed spreadsheets.

Cue said 40 million people have used News since the app launched in the US with iOS 9 last September and in Australia and the U.K. a month later. That metric is also in question, however, as CEO Tim Cook quoted an identical number in October. Apple has yet to reveal information regarding regular usage rates or per-publication traffic.

Apple News app usage has "scaled very fast...but it doesn't mean we don't all want more," Cue said.

Cue has gone on record as saying Apple is not looking to control content distribution. Instead, the company developed News in hopes of delivering quality content to Apple device users.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 17
    Don't use the news APP! Shocked anyone does. Hoping it becomes deletable once Apple finally allows deletion of built in APP's 
  • Reply 2 of 17
    zabazaba Posts: 226member
    News App has replaced my 3 other news apps. It's good but could be great. I'm sticking with it.
    goodbyeranchjbdragonfastasleep
  • Reply 3 of 17
    I use it. I find it better than Google News.  Just wish there were a way to filter out any news about the Kardashians.  As more publishers go native it will be even smoother. 
    macky the mackyjbdragon
  • Reply 4 of 17
    jdwjdw Posts: 1,085member
    Flipboard still beats it in terms of new story load speed, hands down.  Sure, Apple news is a tad more pretty, but not a LOT prettier.  I prefer beauty, but the slow load speed on my iPad 3 is totally unacceptable.  Flipboard is still the best.
  • Reply 5 of 17
    zaba said:
    News App has replaced my 3 other news apps. It's good but could be great. I'm sticking with it.
    same here, and I use it daily. I'd like to be able to swipe-off stories I have no interest in and have it update the "topics/tags" so future stories are better suited to my interests.
  • Reply 6 of 17
    josujosu Posts: 217member
    Very cool Picture illustrating the post.
  • Reply 7 of 17
    I'd love to use Apple News but we still don't have it here in the Netherlands :(
  • Reply 8 of 17
    I have a feeling this is going to become another newsstand. I can't imagine the cut Apple gets for publishers using iAd is that material to Apple's revenue stream. I honestly forget to use the app. But that's mostly because I get what I need from Facebook,Twitter and Safari.
  • Reply 9 of 17
    I love the app. With it I get news relating to narrow areas of science I can't get elsewhere. As for mainstream news, there's too much of that everywhere anyway.
    jbdragon
  • Reply 10 of 17
    I have a feeling this is going to become another newsstand. 
    I keep wonder that as well, especially since the News Publisher service (app? format?) seems to be MIA for folks who have signed up for it, and many of the offerings within the app don't use the vaunted typography or layout that was previewed. Granted, that's *their* issue, not Apple's, but I still have a gnawing sense that it's all been simmering too long and the News app will be ignored.
  • Reply 11 of 17
    jbdragonjbdragon Posts: 2,246member
    jdw said:
    Flipboard still beats it in terms of new story load speed, hands down.  Sure, Apple news is a tad more pretty, but not a LOT prettier.  I prefer beauty, but the slow load speed on my iPad 3 is totally unacceptable.  Flipboard is still the best.
    Everything on my iPad 3 is crazy SSSLLLOOOOWWWWW!!!!! I have issues with Netflix wanting to work because it's so slow while working on my iPhone 6 just fine!!! Keyboard takes like a minute or so to pop up!!! I remember the days when I got it new and it was pretty fast, but then 6 month later, here comes the iPad 4 with the much faster processor and lightning port. I'm at the point where I'm thinking should I get a iPhone 7 Plus or a iPhone 7 and a new iPad?!?!
  • Reply 12 of 17
    jbdragonjbdragon Posts: 2,246member
    Don't use the news APP! Shocked anyone does. Hoping it becomes deletable once Apple finally allows deletion of built in APP's 
    I use it all the time. It's nice getting news from a number of sources all in one easy enough to use App. It works pretty good. Takes a bit to setup going though all the news sources and picking which ones you want. After that, you get the news you want. You don't have to load a bunch of different Apps for each place.
  • Reply 13 of 17
    Something else the News app needs....a way to see trending stories. Apple should have a way to anonymously know what stories people are favoriting. Why isn't there a section that has trending topics/breaking news? I get a lot of news from the people I follow on Twitter. With Apple news I have no easy way of seeing things that friends/family or other people (like journalists or celebrities) I follow are interested in. I know this in theory is a "beta" product right now but it's just another example where I think Apple fails in terms of social, machine learning, etc. I think this product needs a lot of improvemeets IF Apple wants it to be THE place you get all your news.
  • Reply 14 of 17
    2oh12oh1 Posts: 503member
    I really wanted to like this app, but I think it's pretty poor.  I use flipboard instead.
  • Reply 15 of 17
    fastasleepfastasleep Posts: 6,146member
    jonagold said:
    I use it. I find it better than Google News.  Just wish there were a way to filter out any news about the Kardashians.  As more publishers go native it will be even smoother. 
    There's a dislike function now in the 9.3 beta (press and hold on a story in the For You feed, or hit the heart button a second time when viewing an article), so presumably that would work to filter out future stories. I was just scrolling through to try and find a sports article to dislike and couldn't find one yet, so maybe it's already learning. :)
    edited January 2016
  • Reply 16 of 17
    fastasleepfastasleep Posts: 6,146member

    adm1 said:
    zaba said:
    News App has replaced my 3 other news apps. It's good but could be great. I'm sticking with it.
    same here, and I use it daily. I'd like to be able to swipe-off stories I have no interest in and have it update the "topics/tags" so future stories are better suited to my interests.
    ^ see above re: dislike
  • Reply 17 of 17
    fastasleepfastasleep Posts: 6,146member
    Something else the News app needs....a way to see trending stories. Apple should have a way to anonymously know what stories people are favoriting. Why isn't there a section that has trending topics/breaking news? I get a lot of news from the people I follow on Twitter. With Apple news I have no easy way of seeing things that friends/family or other people (like journalists or celebrities) I follow are interested in. I know this in theory is a "beta" product right now but it's just another example where I think Apple fails in terms of social, machine learning, etc. I think this product needs a lot of improvemeets IF Apple wants it to be THE place you get all your news.
    I suppose there's an opportunity here to integrate the Shared Links feed from Safari (which gets them from Twitter and LinkedIn), but wouldn't all those articles have to be available within News already for that to function? And News doesn't necessarily have all content from its various sources, I think. Seems like the kind of thing that could make it into a future version; good thing 1.0 releases aren't carved into stone.

    It's a little premature to say they fail at machine learning in this case when it's still just getting started collecting data, dislike feature JUST getting integrated, etc.
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