Apple News+ is an unmitigated disaster, according to many publishers who offer paid content through the service. In the first 48 hours of the magazine and news subscription service going live, there was 200,000 people who paid money for it. Ever since then, it has been stuck in neutral.
Apple promoted the service at the time, telling potential customers that they could access over 300 top publications in categories including news, entertainment and sports for $9.99 a month. But while Apple doesn’t reveal the exact numbers of News+ subscribers to publishers, the figure hasn’t increased materially from its first couple days, said the people, who asked not to be named because those details are confidential.
In recent months, Apple hasn’t put much marketing heft behind Apple News+, a premium product to regular Apple News, which curates top stories for iPhone and iPad owners. Apple News+ includes magazines such as People and Vanity Fair, newspapers such as The Los Angeles Times and The Wall Street Journal, and online publications like Vox, New York Magazine and theSkimm.
For every subscriber of News+, Apple takes 50% of the revenue. The publishers split the other half based on time spent reading their content. One publisher told CNBC that his company received between $20,000 and $30,000 per month from Apple News+, a number far lower than it had initially expected.
Another publisher said that while subscription revenue growth was lower than anticipated, advertising revenue from Apple News, the free product, has slowly but consistently climbed. The person also said Apple News+ has brought in a different demographic of readers — younger and more female — than more direct forms of distribution.
Bloomberg is reporting that Apple is considering bundling Apple News+, Apple Music and Apple TV in a single subscription platform.
Michael Kozlowski has been writing about audiobooks and e-readers for the past twelve years. His articles have been picked up by major and local news sources and websites such as the CBC, CNET, Engadget, Huffington Post and the New York Times. He Lives in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.