Apple looks to rejigger Apple News+ as publishers carp over low revenues, 'unfinished' pro...

Posted:
in General Discussion edited June 28
Apple is reportedly working to refine the structure of Apple News+ after a slower than expected launch, with some publishing executives complaining that the bundled subscription service is generating less revenue than promised.




Citing publishing sources in contact with Apple, Business Insider reports the tech giant is actively seeking input from publishers as it tweaks Apple News+ to address concerns from partners.

One pressing issue is money. Apple is said to have estimated publishers would in their first year on News+ rake in 10 times the revenue they made from Texture, the digital magazine subscription service Apple acquired in 2018 to build its premium news product.

"It's one twentieth of what they said," the publishing executive said. "It isn't coming true."

While some publishers are seeing lower subscription revenue than what was generated on Texture, others say the amount is about the same, the report said. Texture was not viewed as a major subscription driver when it was active, but publishers were hoping Apple's massive installed user base would boost uptake.

With that in mind, Apple VP Peter Stern, who is in charge of wrangling partners for both News+ and the forthcoming Apple TV+, and head of News business Liz Schimel are asking publishers for input.

In meetings, Apple acknowledged users were confused about the difference between free and paid content, the report said. For subscribers, the Apple News app incorporates both free and paid articles in the "Today" tab, while a separate "News+" tab highlights curated content from for-pay publications. Those who use the app for free have access to a limited selection of aggregated articles in Today, typically below or mixed in with advertisements for the News+ service.

Further, some publishers believe Apple News+ is "unfinished" and does not have the same level of polish typical of Apple's hardware and software offerings.

"I don't think they're putting their full effort behind it," one exec said.

Apple has provided publishers with tools and templates to turn their respective content offerings into a format digestible in News+, but some say support is lacking.

Apple News+ launched in March, presenting users the option to access about 300 magazines for $9.99 per month. According to reports at the time, the service attracted some 200,000 subscriptions in its first 48 hours of availability, more users than Texture had at its peak. It should be noted, however, that Apple offers a free one-month trial to new users.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 29
    pslicepslice Posts: 75member
    It took me a while to realize what was being offered thru Apple News+ but now I love it. I’m dropping a lot of my paper subscriptions. The variety offered is great. “Rejiggering” had better not mess News+ up, because I believe it is great. 
    chasmmdriftmeyercornchipcaladanianmagman1979lolliverpalomine
  • Reply 2 of 29
    Yep, the '+' does not indicate what the added value is.  I think rebranding and simple messaging is in order to ensure customers really understand what the benefits of a paid subscription are.
    TomEapplesnoranges
  • Reply 3 of 29
    mobirdmobird Posts: 220member
    I canceled before the 30 day trial period was up. I agree that it felt unfinished. Apple tried to launch to many services at one time.
    MisterKit7omrwilliamlondonchemengin1
  • Reply 4 of 29
    pslice said:
    It took me a while to realize what was being offered thru Apple News+ but now I love it. I’m dropping a lot of my paper subscriptions. The variety offered is great. “Rejiggering” had better not mess News+ up, because I believe it is great. 
    Agreed. I would also add that it’s only been 2 months and this is a long term effort. My partner and I are both educators and have been holding out for summer to start the free trial and really see what it’s all about. I have been using it and she hasn’t been, and I am confident that we’ll be subscribing. But it will ultimately be how she responds to it that will determine if that’s a cost worth subscribing to (as it takes a unanimous decision for subscriptions). 

    However I am confident, from my experiences, once she gets a feel for what this service is and how it makes consuming web media so much more pleasant that we will be subscribing long after our free trial. 
    caladanianlolliver
  • Reply 5 of 29
    A lot of people, from all around the world, consume American news products. Myself included. If the publishers wouldn’t fidget so much over a global rollout (it sure as hell isn't a limitation on Apple’s part), the revenue would be up, by a fair bit I’d say.

    It’s been clear for quite a while now that it is worth, now and in the long run, to pay directly for the news services. Lest advertising, tracking and clickbaiting becomes ever so more prevalent.
    mdriftmeyerbonobobcaladanianlolliver
  • Reply 6 of 29
    chasmchasm Posts: 1,643member
    I've been enjoying News a great deal but haven't bitten for News+ yet because of some time constraints of late, but it's high on my list of things to try out when things settle down for me a bit. There's a bunch of magazines/content I would like to be able to easily peruse, and $10/month is to my mind a very reasonable charge if you're going to read more than, let's say, 10 articles a month. I look forward to sitting in a coffee shop and just spending an afternoon a week reading in-depth stories and other sorts of journalism not otherwise available online without a subscription.
  • Reply 7 of 29
    stevenozstevenoz Posts: 237member
    The two newspapers for which I would buy-in, the New York Times and the Washington Post, are not included.

    Lots of women's magazines and fading stars (Time Magazine) though.

    I don't think I'd like to read National Geographic on an iPhone.

    But I'm sure it will appeal to some (with a lot of time).
    caladanianforgot username
  • Reply 8 of 29
    seanismorrisseanismorris Posts: 1,023member
    I’ve started using the News app after Google corrupted news.google.com, which has been inundated with snake oil ads.

    The app on the iPad works well as a centralized place to read the news.  I have over 15 sites its getting content from.

    The problem is I have no interest in News+ because it’s mislabeled as “news”.  The content is magazine articles...

    I think people click on it and don’t see “today’s news” and move on.  I do think the Texture model has value, but it’s been presented the wrong way.  
    vukasikasocaltrojandudecornchipjgutherxyzzy01n2itivguyforgot usernamelolliver
  • Reply 9 of 29
    AppleExposedAppleExposed Posts: 1,381unconfirmed, member
    Does it still redirect you to Safari websites when clicking "read more"?

    That was the last straw for me.
    cornchipwilliamlondon
  • Reply 10 of 29
    freerangefreerange Posts: 1,589member
    I’m currently traveling in China and Apple News is not available even using VPN connected to a US server. I’ve been traveling to China for 20 years and lived here for 6 and internet access just keeps getting worse and worse! In this case however it is actually Apple that is restricting access as I can still access the NYT and WP, which are blocked by the Chinese. Speaking with my Chinese friends here, many are not even aware of the Hong Kong demonstrations, or the issues they are demonstrating against. Nothing like keeping 1.3 Billion people in the dark. Trump has so many good friends like himself! You know the ones, the ones in leadership positions that suppress those “enemies of the people”!
    caladanianforgot usernamemuthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 11 of 29
    seanismorrisseanismorris Posts: 1,023member
    freerange said:
    I’m currently traveling in China and Apple News is not available even using VPN connected to a US server. I’ve been traveling to China for 20 years and lived here for 6 and internet access just keeps getting worse and worse! In this case however it is actually Apple that is restricting access as I can still access the NYT and WP, which are blocked by the Chinese. Speaking with my Chinese friends here, many are not even aware of the Hong Kong demonstrations, or the issues they are demonstrating against. Nothing like keeping 1.3 Billion people in the dark. Trump has so many good friends like himself! You know the ones, the ones in leadership positions that suppress those “enemies of the people”!
    For the most part I agree with you, but America style democracy doesn’t necessarily work everywhere.  Removing Saddam Hussein gave us ISIS.  What would happen if the current current government in China fell?  Could China turn violet expansionist?  

    That said, it’s disappointing China is moving in the wrong direction.  If they keep getting more restrictive, revolution gets more likely not less...  At the end of the day, a knowledgeable/educated population is ideal.
    socaltrojandudecornchipforgot username
  • Reply 12 of 29
    mdriftmeyermdriftmeyer Posts: 7,292member
    stevenoz said:
    The two newspapers for which I would buy-in, the New York Times and the Washington Post, are not included.

    Lots of women's magazines and fading stars (Time Magazine) though.

    I don't think I'd like to read National Geographic on an iPhone.

    But I'm sure it will appeal to some (with a lot of time).
    It's fantastic on the iPad. It's the primary platform for News+. I imagine with iPadOS it will only become more enhanced. The Times and the Post, WSJ, and other are not Magazines. News+ is mainly Magazines and it sure as shit well worth it.
    edited June 28 socaltrojandudecornchipcaladanianforgot usernamelolliver
  • Reply 13 of 29
    mdriftmeyermdriftmeyer Posts: 7,292member
    Does it still redirect you to Safari websites when clicking "read more"?

    That was the last straw for me.
    Then piss on the Publisher who has yet to fully buy into the platform, not Apple.
    cornchipbonobobn2itivguyforgot usernamelolliver
  • Reply 14 of 29
    canukstormcanukstorm Posts: 1,959member
    stevenoz said:
    The two newspapers for which I would buy-in, the New York Times and the Washington Post, are not included.

    Lots of women's magazines and fading stars (Time Magazine) though.

    I don't think I'd like to read National Geographic on an iPhone.

    But I'm sure it will appeal to some (with a lot of time).
    It's fantastic on the iPad. It's the primary platform for News+. I imagine with iPadOS it will only become more enhanced. The Times and the Post, WSJ, and other are not Magazines. News+ is mainly Magazines and it sure as shit well worth it.
    Agree. News+ really shines on the iPad
    lolliver
  • Reply 15 of 29
    matrix077matrix077 Posts: 728member
    Apple already have a solution for this right in iOS but incredibly they refuse to use it: bottom tabs navigation. 

    Put News+ in its own tab. Make a My Magazines tab front and center. Makes it so that for anyone who doesn’t subscribe to news this tab will be empty like Apple Music for non-subscribers and people will get curious and subscribe.  
    edited June 28 n2itivguyforgot usernamelolliverpalomine
  • Reply 16 of 29
    Two NYC commuters here. We’re paying for it and it is saving us money in that it replaces multiple print and online subscriptions. The only one of those I’m keeping up is the print edition of the New Yorker, more out of a sense of tradition, I guess—our home wouldn’t be the same without stacks of them here and there. But it’s nice having it in the News+ app, no need to fuss with their site.

    I do agree that the line between News and News+ is unclear, and the app is barely a 1.0 release. I expect improvement going forward.

    Would have been nice if they had gotten the NY Times, but that was never going to happen. They’re proprietary now, to the point where they downplay important stories they haven’t broken themselves. Newspapers have always been like that to some extent, but it’s become exponentially so in the Information Age.

    I hope eventually Apple will get the WaPo on board, though.
    caladanianforgot usernamelolliver
  • Reply 17 of 29
    matrix077matrix077 Posts: 728member
    freerange said:
    I’m currently traveling in China and Apple News is not available even using VPN connected to a US server. I’ve been traveling to China for 20 years and lived here for 6 and internet access just keeps getting worse and worse! In this case however it is actually Apple that is restricting access as I can still access the NYT and WP, which are blocked by the Chinese. Speaking with my Chinese friends here, many are not even aware of the Hong Kong demonstrations, or the issues they are demonstrating against. Nothing like keeping 1.3 Billion people in the dark. Trump has so many good friends like himself! You know the ones, the ones in leadership positions that suppress those “enemies of the people”!
    Set your Region & Language in Settings/General to US and you’ll be able to access it anywhere in the world without a need of VPN. 
    edited June 28 cornchipforgot usernametenthousandthings
  • Reply 18 of 29
    AppleExposedAppleExposed Posts: 1,381unconfirmed, member
    Does it still redirect you to Safari websites when clicking "read more"?

    That was the last straw for me.
    Then piss on the Publisher who has yet to fully buy into the platform, not Apple.

    Well that sucks. Didn't know Apple News was just a search engine....
  • Reply 19 of 29
    paxmanpaxman Posts: 4,607member
    I am paying for News+ on a family plan but I suspect no one is using it. I certainly am not. I thought the others would like the mags but we are honestly suffering from info overload. As far as 'news' goes I have been disappointed. 
    n2itivguychemengin1
  • Reply 20 of 29
    JapheyJaphey Posts: 33member
    mobird said:
    I canceled before the 30 day trial period was up. I agree that it felt unfinished. Apple tried to launch to many services at one time.
    They only launched one service, News+. The others were only announced. But I also cancelled my trial before the month was up, thinking I would have till the end of month to sample it, like almost every other subscription out there. But no. It ended the day I canceled which was pretty annoying. 

    The article said there were “about 300” magazines available right now, but I seem to remember there only being 200 at launch. Does anybody know of a site where new additions are listed?
    7omr
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