Nine months ago, Apple unveiled its Apple News+ service, designed to let Apple News users access over 200 magazines and some paywalled news content for a $9.99 per month fee. Apple keeps 50 percent of this fee and the remaining revenue is split among publishers based on the amount of time readers spend with each publisher’s content.
However, a new report by Digiday looking at the popularity of Apple News+ suggests that most publishers remain underwhelmed by the paid subscription service and so far aren’t seeing the results they’d hoped for.
According to the report, the news service is having little impact on publishers’ bottom lines, and although it has generated some additional revenue and enabled them to reach more international audiences, overall publisher revenues generated from Apple News+ are modest.
One publisher told Digiday that revenue was less than $20,000 a month, but the desire to keep the subscription numbers up meant it was worth renewing the contract with Apple next year.
“We’re happy to be on there because it’s another way to increase subscription revenue, but it’s not like it’s a huge boon for our business or anything like that,” one magazine exec said. “It’s not really relevant.”
Another publisher said they were “encouraged” by the results since joining Apple News+ and that it had helped them grow their audience outside of the U.S., but declined to say how many subscriptions they’d added because of the platform.
“I think the jury is out,” said Roger Lynch, Condé Nast CEO said at Code Media in November, about Apple News+. “I think that … the paid side of it has had some adoption and I think Apple will continue to focus on that. Whether it’s good for publishers like us or not is to be determined.”
Two days after the service’s launch in March, Apple reported 200,000 new subscriptions for Apple News+, but hasn’t offered any more subscription numbers. One report last month suggested that Apple has struggled to attract subscribers to its news service, although the company isn’t expected to dramatically change its Apple News+ strategy.
That said, Bloomberg reported in November that Apple is considering bundling Apple News+ with Apple TV+ and Apple Music, which could mean users see perceive it as offering better value for money. Have you signed up for Apple News+ and do you plan to keep the subscription? Let us know in the comments.