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Low Apple News Revenue Still Frustrates Publishers

A new Apple news subscription service is awaited and has everything to be presented on March 25, according to rumors. While it is not coming, publishers and content producers should be content with revenue from Apple news This, of course, is limited to the Apple ecosystem and overlooks all the other possibilities that the virtual world offers.

Although Apple News's availability is quite limited (for now the service is present in Australia, the United States and the United Kingdom soon to arrive in Canada), Apple's partners in these countries are not happy with the results. The speech is not new: Last year, this dissatisfaction already existed, but as the high-quality News audience was growing by leaps and bounds, most publishers were hoping to see the numbers improve. Nothing done.

Monetization of the service remains very difficult, according to seven publishers interviewed by Digiday. Ad revenue is hurt by advertiser disinterest and ad-fill rates that many describe as ?terrible? even after a modest improvement earlier this year. One of the publications reported that it generated less than $ 1,000 per month, which obviously helps very little to pay the bills.

Selling ad inventory directly seems to be a daunting task because of the limitation of the platform with respect to user segmentation (it is not possible to use third party data or IP addresses for this, for example). Another limitation is the impossibility of running programmatic advertising and how many end up using this strategy, the terrible limitation.

Because of this, many publishers end up placing the Apple News inventory as a ?prize? for larger campaigns, a kind of ?added value? as it is a public premium and that invariably has its value to many advertisers.

One of the publishers interviewed reported that by early 2019, Apple News's remaining inventory fill rate was less than 20 percent. The same source said this number is so low that it makes publishing on Apple News less profitable than formats like AMP (Google) or even Instant Articles (from Facebook, which many abandoned due to monetization problems). Some publishers have even reported fill rates of almost 90% in a DoubleClick implementation test (something allowed on the platform since mid-2018), but these sources have suggested that these results are far from common.

The amazing thing is that, even limited to three countries, Apple News's audience numbers are not bad: the service today has about 90 million users, according to the The New York Times; according to Digiday, there are almost 70 million single users per month and another 20 million international users.

And this is reflected in the audience of these publishers themselves: basically all reported steady audience growth, with some cases generating more referral traffic than Facebook. Selected materials to be shown in widget Top News (curated by Apple) can generate huge increases in traffic, and may even be one of the most read stories a publisher can share in a month.

Why, then, financially is Apple News not a success? Perhaps it is the issue involving privacy (which, good or bad, is linked to the limitations of the service I mentioned above). One respondent said, ?I respect Apple and their belief in privacy. That just makes it incredibly challenging to sell there (in the News). ? Apple's curated also praised, described as open-minded to ideas for new formats and what should be highlighted. ?They are very fair,? said one source.

But because of monetary hardship, some end up using Apple News as a push platform to drive podcast downloads, attract more people to their own subscription-based site, or even convert readers into newsletter subscribers. .

The problem is that, in the end, without money is not possible to pay the bills. And many say the earnings from Apple News subscriptions end up not being as good as they could be if you could sell all the inventory of ads, but they're still good. So maybe the answer to this problem is not precisely Apple's new news (magazine and newspaper) subscription service.

via 9to5Mac