Apple is a company known for protecting its users’ privacy fiercely, but it turns out Apple’s strict privacy and data collection policies may be hurting the revenue the company and publishers can collect via its Apple News platform. That’s according to a report from Digiday:
Today, publishers are still having trouble selling their Apple News [ad] inventory directly, sources said. Three [publishers] cited Apple News’ limited user targeting, which doesn’t allow the use of third-party data or IP addresses, as reasons for them being unable to sell a meaningful amount of ads on Apple News.
Matter of fact, of the publications Digiday spoke with, one said it earned less than $1,000 per month in ad revenue from Apple News. That’s pretty shocking considering Apple News has roughly 90 million regular users, according to the New York Times.
This puts Apple, publishers, and users in a bit of a conundrum. I’m a huge fan of the Apple News app. It easily has one of the best UIs of any news aggregation service, and its channels, topics, and human-curated stories make discoverability a breeze. And extra added bonus: I can read news stories without data brokers and ad firms knowing every story I click on. This is possible because of Apple’s aforementioned strict privacy offerings in the News app.
But that’s also making it hard for publishers to sell ads within Apple News to clients who want to spend their money targeting specific groups of readers as finely as possible. So what are Apple and Apple News publishers to do? That’s tricky. Apple could give publishers more data about Apple News readers, but then that would weaken its users’ privacy protections.
But there may be another solution. Next month Apple is rumored to be debuting a subscription-based News service. This service is said to allow users to access an unlimited number of articles in Apple News from any source. Publishers would then get a cut of Apple’s subscriptions revenue based on how many page views their content generated. This setup could bolster publishers’ revenue from Apple News without Apple needing to sacrifice user privacy. We’ll need to wait until late March, however, to see if publishers are willing to embrace a news subscription service from Apple.