It has not been that long since Apple officially lifted the curtain on Apple News+, one of the many different subscription services the company announced earlier this year. And while first impressions of the platform from a reader’s perspective were solid enough, it turns out some publishers aren’t too pleased.
According to a report on Monday from Digiday, some publishers are having “early headaches” with the Apple News+ experience in general. Apparently there’s some confusion about the things Apple promised publishers in an effort to get them on board with the new service, including formatting and templates publishers could use to get their content out there. Some publishers are also keen to point out they think Apple is favoring the bigger publishers over the smaller ones.
“Five participating publishers Digiday spoke to detailed a series of early headaches, including struggles with Apple News+ article formatting, confusion about user experience and design, worries about jeopardizing big digital ad campaigns, and a gripe that Apple is favoring large publishers at the expense of smaller ones.
Early hiccups are to be expected — Apple News+ is less than a month old — but multiple publishing sources said the product’s flaws do not bode well for its long-term future unless Apple adapts its approach. Apple did not respond to a request for comment.”
In a strangely off-hands approach, Apple has reportedly outsourced most of the design efforts to third-party vendors. That has resulted in behind-the-scenes in the development process for those publishers, leading to even more work:
“Added work tops the list of several publishers’ complaints. Most of the publishers that want to convert pages from their print issues into a digital format rely on tools which scan PDFs, then converts their contents into individual articles and advertisements. The technology is buggy enough that each issue needs to effectively be copy- and design-edited all over again, to ensure that design, formatting and spacing have come out in one piece, according to multiple sources. And because they are standardized, these tools make it harder to distinguish one publisher’s content from another, sources said.”
These publishers see a major issue with all of this, and say that it does not necessarily bode well for the future of the platform as a whole. However, they do suggest that these are all things that Apple can change as long as it takes an actual interest in doing so. If that were to happen, it sounds like the publishers’ headaches would be relieved in the process.
Apple News+ is less than a month old, so there is obviously a lot of room to grow. However, these particular frustrations seem to be things that Apple should certainly have addressed even before launch. Hopefully the company can reduce some of the stress of publishing content on the service for publishers, because otherwise that 50/50 split might not be worth sticking with.