When Time Inc. CEO Joe Ripp expressed frustration with his company’s performance on Apple News last week, his complaints apparently were just the tip of the iceberg. 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.
It’s hard to really know how much traffic to expect from a new platform. But when Apple launched the mobile app Sept. 16, it was baked into the home screen for iOS 9, which reportedly has had the fastest adoption rate ever for Apple, with 66 percent of iPhone users having upgraded to 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.)
But as one publisher, who like others wouldn’t talk on the record for fear of jeopardizing their relationship with Apple, said, “The traffic is underwhelming.”
For that publisher, that means under 1 million views a month — not terrible, but not worth it considering the work involved to train staff in Apple’s process and to prepare the content for the app, much less take advantage of other features that Apple offered to entice publishers to use the app.