A surge of consumer interest in Apple News is leading to huge readership figures for online publishers – but is not driving a matching surge in revenue for those providing the content, it is claimed.

Slate, the online news, politics, technology and culture magazine, says it is among a host of online publishers that are seeing fast-growing numbers of readers via the Apple News app – its own page views have roughly tripled in the past 12 months – but without an accompanying jump in income.

Chris Schieffer, Slate’s senior product manager, said Slate makes virtually no money from Apple News.

“I did one back-of-the-envelope calculation that startled me: Slate makes more money from a single article that gets 50,000 page views on its site than it does from the 6 million page views it receives on Apple News in an average month,” he said.

The Apple News app – which replaced the Newsstand app – received a lukewarm reception when it was launched three years ago, with the release of iOS 9. It works by collecting news stories through syndication feeds and from publishing partners.

Its current popularity is widely seen as a response to consumer disillusion with Facebook news feeds and what they see as the boom in clickbait and “fake news”.

But while Facebook directed news readers to publishers’ own websites, where they can be served ads that generate publisher revenue, Apple’s service means that readers tend to stay in the app, which generates “little or no ad revenue”, Slate reports several media outlets as saying.

There are options to sell ads, but they can involve creating custom executions solely for this one app, and also involve Apple taking a generous share of any revenue.

It’s not all bad news for online publishers, however. Apple News, being curated by human editors rather than bots, is viewed as a realisation of the value of professionally gathered news – or quality content, as it’s often now called.

The app also provides widespread exposure for a brand, and, through its push notifications, enables news providers to build relationships with readers directly. “It is, in many ways, the anti-Facebook that the mainstream news media (and some of its savvier consumers) have been craving,” Slate says.

Sourced from Slate; additional content by WARC staff