During a quarterly earnings call, Time Inc. CEO Joe Ripp last week said he’s not a happy camper with returns from Apple News, which publishes TIME content on iOS devices. The ad revenue so far has been far more modest than anticipated.
Well, it appears he may not be alone, even if pretty much alone in going on the record in calling out Apple News.
Digiday reports, “Other publishing execs are unhappy about everything from the traffic they’re getting from the two-month-old news aggregation app to the user experience to the data Apple’s giving them.”
The mobile app was launched in September, and 66 percent of iPhone users had adopted it as of Nov. 2. “So given the adoption rate and Apple News’ coveted real estate, publishers pumped a lot of their content into the app, seeing strong potential to reach new audiences. (Apple said last month that the app has 40 million users.)”
Those partners run a broad gamut and include The New York Times, Bloomberg News, Vox, Mashable, The Chicago Tribune, The Washington Post, Bleacher Report, Conde Nast, Hearst, Wenner Media, The Atlantic, The Daily Beast, FiveThirtyEight, The Financial Times, CNN, CNBC, The Guardian, The New Yorker, NiemanLab and POLITICO.
But various unidentified publishers, who were willing to vent to Digiday but not identify themselves lest they miff the firm they were badmouthing, also voiced chagrin. One says, “The traffic is underwhelming.”
Another anonymous grouser said, “They’re not generating a ton of views or traffic, and the data they provide is basically nonexistent. They claim they’re working out kinks, and they probably will. I’m disappointed, but I’m not giving up on it.”
Publishers also said that while Apple is giving them weekly reports, such as the volume of page views and shares, they still need much more, including demographic information on users. They had also been promised that they could sell ads into the app.