Is Apple News an option for local news publishers?

By ResponsiveAds - Dynamic

In many ways, Apple’s services (especially Apple News) are a mystery to all publishers looking for extended monetisation techniques.

How many true subscribers are there for global-local news publishers? Is there an advantage or disadvantage to posting content for the markets where Apple News is available, which includes the United States, United Kingdom, Australia, and Canada? When will this go global? Can local publishers build revenue and audience by distributing through this channel?

Apple News is one of the 15 most popular apps in the world.
Apple News is one of the 15 most popular apps in the world.


Even with Apple tariffing down to 15% of the subscriber in-app revenue of Apple News+ and 30% of the ad revenue through the network Apple, the company has made it clear that 100% of the revenue can be kept by publishers if they supply and serve their own advertisers through partnerships like ResponsiveAds

Publishers with strong subscriber bases and paywall systems might not see the free content only powered by 100% advertising revenue aligned with its subscriber’s strategy. This is the case, for example, with The New York Times, which pulled out of the relationship.

What about the local news publishers not fully based on paywalls and thriving on the free advertising-driven model as a core part of the business? My perspective is that offering content in Apple and monetising yourself through directly sold ads is a good method for distribution and market building. There is nothing against having links back to your own properties and taking advantage of the tens of millions of visiting consumers of Apple services.

Of hundreds of thousands of apps, Apple News is still in the top 15 most popular apps, and it’s popularity continues to grow. Bringing in more than US$65 million, monthly visitors are a key part of its existing advertising ecosystem. Apple News ads are the stepping stone and a definite gateway to the future of advertising on Apple as a whole.

Subscription revenue for Apple News+ is expected to increase significantly.
Subscription revenue for Apple News+ is expected to increase significantly.


Nevertheless, if you want to make money from content while sharing some of it with Apple, you could see a huge windfall. It is estimated that the total Apple News+ subscription revenue could hit US$2.2 billion in 2023, according to Statista.

In markets where it launches, such as in the United Kingdom, Apple News is the most viewed app in its category in the country, with more than 28% of the Internet users. It had more than US$13 million in unique users, beating out BBC News.

Apple News is the most viewed app in its category in the United Kingdom.
Apple News is the most viewed app in its category in the United Kingdom.


Personalisation with a focus on the consumer

One of the public cornerstones of the Apple experience is a “consumer-first” approach. For many content providers, the “do not track me” initiative threw a wrench in their monetisation strategies.

In October 2021, Apple launched the App Privacy Report in beta to start the process of transparency. It is a stepping stone to this initiative’s future.

Despite the controversial nature of publishers posting content as an alternative source of audience and revenue, Apple News continues to grow and is a fundamental part of the future of Apple’s advertising revenue strategy.

Because the company is focused on the consumer, there are three fundamental strategies for its tracking approach. It offers the user an option to opt-in with these settings:

  • Data used to track you (or your device) and shared across different apps, ad networks, and companies.
  • Data linked to you (and your real identity) that is collected by the app and company but not shared.
  • Data not linked to you that the company generally aggregates into larger statistics.

Through these methods and strategies, it has created a personalisation approach that creates the best content and, in the future, most likely ads matching your preferences.

But are all parties treated equally?

Despite all of these positive policies for the consumer, there is still the question of whether this is just another method for Apple to monopolise the usage of consumer data. And, through the federation of multiple sources, will it be the best beneficiary to that data versus usage from the overall content provider community?

Since mid-June, there have been investigations such as the German regulator investigating Apple’s opt-in privacy settings. However, an Apple spokesperson said the company’s rules apply “equally to all developers,” including itself.

This might not be 100% correct. When digging into the privacy policies, it appears Apple doesn’t consider its own ad-serving practices, which rely on first-party data, as equivalent to tracking by ad-tech companies. Apple’s privacy policies allow the company to draw on users’ behaviour across many of its apps put into segments and categories for more than 5,000 users.

Is Apple expanding its ad business?

There is writing on the wall that Apple is expanding its ad business. It has been hiring top people from all over the industry to join the Apple ad platform. With the recent promotion of Apple One, a new subscription service that brings together six products for a monthly fee, it does make sense that it could expand the free tier to drive audience and subscribers.

Think of what this service will do for the growth of users on Apple News, which is included in Apple One.

It all makes sense if we see how Netflix has evolved with the announcement of advertising-driven approaches to streaming and the success of NBC Peacock. Apple News and local news is a part of all of this, and local news publishers need to grapple with the right strategy and approach as this becomes a mainstream part of the market.

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