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Apple irks advertisers

News, 15 September 2015

NEW YORK: Apple News, the mobile app from the eponymous tech giant due to launch tomorrow, is already being criticised by publishers and advertisers frustrated at the limitations it imposes on them.

"[Apple News is] giving us some great ways to distribute our product, but it they're not giving us a lot of ways to monetize it," one senior news executive complained to the New York Post.

Publishers will get to keep all of the revenue from ads they sell themselves or they can let Apple do the selling and give it 30%.

A few publishers, including CNN, Vox Media and Time Inc, have gone all-in on the new app, making most of their content available in the hope that they will reach a new, large audience.

But others, notably those such as the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal, which have subscription models in place, are restricting the number of stories posted on Apple News to a few dozen a day at most.

Among advertisers, a particular source of annoyance is Apple's requirement that it approve every campaign and that it be given 48 hours' notice to do so. It also demands that it vets all pre-roll video ads, a process that one executive described as "very difficult".

Add in a lack of real-time bidding, and the absence of buying through Google's DoubleClick ad platform, and it is clear why Apple News could be a source of some vexation for advertisers.

Edward Kim of SimpleReach, an online marketing firm, said that Apple was "clearly using this as a way to build up their own ad platform so they want to do it on their own terms".

But even Apple doesn't always get its own way, as observers noted of the new version of Apple TV which does not offer any bundles of programming. The complexity and cost of negotiating broadcast and digital rights is the main reason for this absence.

But, said James L. McQuivey, an analyst at Forrester Research, "Apple TV needs TV shows to succeed, especially live sports. Otherwise it doesn't stand out from other products that let us stream Netflix and Hulu".

Data sourced from New York Post, Digiday, New York Times; additional content by Warc staff