Conde Nast still waiting for Apple News+ success

Posted:
in General Discussion edited March 2020
The CEO of influential magazine publisher Conde Nast says he hopes Apple News+ will be a success, but so far "the jury is out," and his company hasn't seen the expected impact.

Magazines in Apple News+ on an iPad (Source: Apple)
Magazines in Apple News+ on an iPad (Source: Apple)


Roger Lynch, CEO of publisher Conde Nast, says its magazines -- including Vanity Fair and Conde Nast Traveler -- have yet to see the success on Apple News+ that was expected. The company, whose titles regularly reach 84 million readers across print and digital services, had an initial burst of new subscribers but that interest failed to continue.

According to Variety, Lynch was talking at the Recode Code Media conference about issues including both publishing and streaming.

"I hope Apple News+ is wildly successful," he said. "[However] I think the jury is out."

Conde Nast was one of the original publishers on Apple News+ when it launched in the US and Canada in March 2019. Lynch says that, as reported on AppleInsider within the first 48 hours of that launch, Apple News+ signed up 200,000 subscribers, but has struggled to grow further.

Apple News+ subscriptions begin with a free month's trial, but Lynch said he was specifically talking about paying ones, so people who continued after that initial period. Users pay a single subscription and publishers earn part of their revenue through a share of that fee -- the rest through advertising and selling direct subscriptions -- though Lynch declined to say how much the company had earned.

He did speak to an issue that has previously concerned other publishers, that of the comparatively low price Apple News+ subscription undercutting other firms. Lynch was asked about how it affects publishers trying to build their own services, and whether it meant users could circumvent paywalls.

"We haven't seen that effect," he said.

Magazines on Apple News+
Magazines on Apple News+


Lynch joined Conde Nast in April, so after the firm negotiated terms with Apple for the service, but says the publisher could ultimately quit Apple News+ if necessary. "Over time, we have options," he said.

While Apple News+ has been available in the US and Canada for most of the year, it only began in the UK and Australia countries in September. Publishers in Europe have reported that the service is paying off for them, if not dramatically.

"We're seeing quite good traffic from Apple News," said one unnamed publishing executive, "but the revenue is not show-stopping."

Nonetheless, rival organisations are seeing the potential value of a news service and CNN is reported to be planning its own competitor to Apple news+, as is Mozilla.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 13
    In case they are reading this: the only reason that I stopped reading Conde Nast electronic editions, including the one on Apple, is that the electronic version is dismal, just a PDF of the print edition. Unreadable even on iPads, even worse oniPad Mini or iPhone. And to think it was so good only one year ago but then they discontinued the dedicated electronic edition.
    geekmeeRayz2016watto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 13
    I’m sorry, but good journalism has a very limited appeal these days. Bad journalism has even less appeal. Maybe Apple should just provide a platform for good bloggers and see if that could be monetized instead.
  • Reply 3 of 13
    silvergold84silvergold84 Posts: 107unconfirmed, member
    I’m sure the platform is the best. The journals have to ask to theriself why people aren’t interest to read. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 13
    Apple News is an also-ran. 
  • Reply 5 of 13
    Rayz2016Rayz2016 Posts: 6,957member
    I’m sure the platform is the best. The journals have to ask to theriself why people aren’t interest to read. 
    Yup. 

    sflagel said:
    In case they are reading this: the only reason that I stopped reading Conde Nast electronic editions, including the one on Apple, is that the electronic version is dismal, just a PDF of the print edition. Unreadable even on iPads, even worse oniPad Mini or iPhone. And to think it was so good only one year ago but then they discontinued the dedicated electronic edition.
    And yup again. 

    But I would also add that Apple needs to get a few more magazines on board, especially region-specific ones. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 13
    kevin keekevin kee Posts: 1,291member
    Maybe Apple should just provide a platform for good bloggers and see if that could be monetized instead.

  • Reply 7 of 13
    Apple has yet to roll out iBooks, Apple News & Apple News+ where I live. I'd love to try News+ if there was an option.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 13
    djsherlydjsherly Posts: 1,031member
    Apple has tried news a few times now. If they can’t make it work it’s unlikely to work. It’ll be dropped, silently, in a year or two. 
  • Reply 9 of 13
    This is a classic example of “build it and they will come.” Conent has to be actively marketed through social media.  Or cross linked with other news content.  Everyday, content providers/publishers need to offer a certain amount of free content to build brand awareness. Then develop subscription offerings once consumers have been exposed to their unique content offerings.   To sit there and say “revenues haven’t been what was expected” sounds so lame.  Get active. Market your content. Market and develop your brand.  Drive revenue. Don’t just expect random clicks and subscribers. There’s my free advice. 
    edited November 2019 watto_cobra
  • Reply 10 of 13
    MacProMacPro Posts: 19,428member
    I’m sorry, but good journalism has a very limited appeal these days. Bad journalism has even less appeal. Maybe Apple should just provide a platform for good bloggers and see if that could be monetized instead.
    I don't know, 'bad' in the sense of sensationalism be it true or not seems to attract the hits these days more than good journalism.  That's Apple's problem here IMHO.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 11 of 13
    dewmedewme Posts: 3,946member
    I’m sorry, but good journalism has a very limited appeal these days. Bad journalism has even less appeal. Maybe Apple should just provide a platform for good bloggers and see if that could be monetized instead.
    Not a bad idea, e.g., a YouBlog platform that pays out based on followers. 

    The signal to noise ratio with current online journalism is so heavily dominated by noise, especially noise-only sources. It’s almost untenable. High noise and paywalls == turned off readers. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 12 of 13

    djsherly said:
    Apple has tried news a few times now. If they can’t make it work it’s unlikely to work. It’ll be dropped, silently, in a year or two. 
    The thing is, it was working when it was Texture. Apple bought Texture and wrecked it, basically.
  • Reply 13 of 13
    kevin keekevin kee Posts: 1,291member

    djsherly said:
    Apple has tried news a few times now. If they can’t make it work it’s unlikely to work. It’ll be dropped, silently, in a year or two. 
    The thing is, it was working when it was Texture. Apple bought Texture and wrecked it, basically.
    You saying Apple News+ is not working? That's not what I see.
    watto_cobra
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