Apple is planning on changing the way it allows publishers on its proprietary News app to place ads and generate revenue, a common critique that news outlets and publications have made of the platform, according to a new report.
Though Apple News clocks millions of monthly readers, publishers who send their content to the platform say they get very little in return other than traffic — due to the tight restrictions Apple places on how outlets can place ads and the hassle publishers have to go through to do so. To remedy that, Apple is reportedly planning on allowing publishers to use the ad tech already used on many websites to deliver ads in News, such as Google DoubleClick for Publishers, Ad Agereported.
Presumably, this could let media outlets generate as much income as they do from their own sites without the hassle or additional effort of the current Apple News system — which some publishers call a “black hole” for revenue generation. Facebook has faced a similar dilemma with its Instant Articles system, which streamlines content viewing but also steals visits to media outlet websites. “There’s a ton of scale there but no dollars,” one anonymous publisher told Ad Age. “So Apple has to do something soon or publishers will pull out.”
In addition to changing the way it allows publishers to place ads, Apple is also considering allowing micropayments as another revenue source for its media partners, according to another anonymous source familiar with the matter. While details on such a system were pretty vague, it will reportedly allow users to access certain content for “cents at a time.” Any micropayment system, however, is still at least a few months off as Apple works out the ad side of its revenue platform.
While publishers have had trouble with generating income in Apple News, the app is still good for one thing: audience. Currently, Apple News commands a No. 15 rank in the U.S. App Store, and boasts over 47 million monthly users — despite only being available in the U.S., U.K. and Australia. But Apple consistently shies away from any type of revenue platform that demands consumer-tracking, a “key holdup” on publications cashing in on the system.
With these changes, Apple is seemingly very serious about News’ potential as an aggregator of content. Additionally, the company recently hired its very first editor-in-chief for the platform and made some updates to the way News handles third-party ad tags.