Slate: Apple News has overtaken Facebook

But the walled garden is not a lucrative place to be.

From “The Temptation of Apple News” posted on Slate Tuesday by Will Oremus:

One platform in particular has exploded as a news source in the past year, and it promises an antidote to some of the poisonous dynamics that Facebook had set in motion. That platform is Apple News.

Launched to rather tepid fanfare three years ago, Apple’s mobile news app has recently surged in popularity and influence, if publishers’ traffic figures are any indication. Sources at several news outlets say they’ve seen their audience on Apple News multiply in 2018 alone. Some now say it has become one of their top traffic sources, alongside Facebook and Google. At Slate, which disclosed its data for this story, page views on Apple News have roughly tripled since September 2017, and the app recently surpassed Facebook as a driver of readership.

There is, of course, a catch. Whereas Facebook sent hordes of readers from its news feed to publishers’ websites, Apple tends to keep them inside its app. And so far, publishers have found that’s not a lucrative place to be. Although it’s been two years since Apple partnered with NBCUniversal to sell ads inside the app, several sources at media outlets told me that they’re seeing little to no ad revenue from Apple News. (more).

Cue the fever chart:

apple news facebook slate

My take:  Ad-supported journalism is a tricky business, no matter what the platform. I hope they work something out. I like Apple News on the iPhone; use it all the time.

11 Comments

  1. Gregg Thurman said:

    There are many iOS apps I’d like to see ported to MacOS. News is one of them.

    Slate’s observation that readers stay within Apple’s walled garden rings true with me. I seldom pass through to the publisher’s site.

    2
    September 26, 2018
    • Robert Paul Leitao said:

      Gregg:

      Apple News is now available on macOS Mojave.

      2
      September 26, 2018
      • Gregg Thurman said:

        Thanks. I’ll look it up.

        0
        September 26, 2018
  2. Richard Wanderman said:

    I still use RSS (Feedly and Reeder) as primary sources but I do use Apple News as well and as it gets better I’ll use it more.

    It irks me that it does not recognize subscriptions unless they’re handled through iTunes. That needs to be fixed.

    2
    September 26, 2018
  3. David Emery said:

    To me the more interesting development/comparison is between moderated news (Apple) and unmoderated news (FB). Although I have real concerns about the fairness of moderation, I still think it’s a better model, even with biases, than the unmoderated Hell that is Facebook.

    4
    September 26, 2018
    • Fred Stein said:

      Agree and up-voted.

      Split a hair. The social media folks have started to moderate their sites due to well-deserved negative backlash.

      0
      September 26, 2018
  4. Steven Noyes said:

    I would happily pay a small subscription to keeps to an almost 0 amount. Then spread this out partially based on page views and some type of featured/curated content.

    1
    September 26, 2018
    • David Emery said:

      Seems to me there are 2 levels of moderation. The first is moderated providers, where only trusted sources are included. The second is moderated content, where specific articles (from trusted sources) are highlighted.

      0
      September 26, 2018
  5. Apple should in fact sell a subscription to get the news without ads. Would be logical with the Texture acquisition.

    1
    September 26, 2018
  6. Robert Paul Leitao said:

    In addition to other news apps, I spend on average over an hour a day inside Apple News. In my observations, the number of publications participating in the news app content stream has dropped since its inception. This may be due to the lack of revenue generation for publications through the current News app. But familiarizing readers with a publication’s content and editorial style does have value for the various content providers and the News app is delivering readers.

    Apple has all the components necessary for success as a news and editorial content provider. While Apple News is good, I expect the company’s forthcoming content subscription service to be even better. In my view, Apple’s approach to content curation is superior to that used by sites and platforms that automate content aggregation and delivery and push far too many ads and pass along “sponsored content” as if it were news.

    This is yet another opportunity for Apple to drive Services revenue growth by providing a better and more efficient content delivery service compared to other services and it’s an opportunity that could in a fairly short period of time become its own platform for a small monthly subscription fee.

    3
    September 26, 2018

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