Big changes might come to struggling Apple News+

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Apple News
Apple News+ revenues fail to impress publishers.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

Apple is already having to consider some major changes to its new Apple News+ service just three months after it launched earlier this year.

The subscription news service was supposed to be a boon for publishers and bring in a ton of extra cash, but a new report claims most publishers are only seeing a fraction of the revenue Apple promised.

Gripes about Apple News+ started surfacing just weeks after it launched at a star-studded event in March. Apple News+ is one of many new Apple services the company is launching this year in an effort to make more money outside of iPhone sales, however, insiders say it’s off to an unexpectedly sluggish start.

Publishers have been told that changes are on the way to make Apple News+ more intuitive, according to a report from Business Insider. Some of the publishers spoken to for the piece said they were surprised that Apple News+ feels like an unfinished product.

Apple News+ is struggling

Multiple publishers are reportedly unimpressed with the revenue coming in from Apple News+. One publishing exec in the report says Apple projected the service would bring in 10 times the revenue made from Texture by the first year. After the first quarter, revenue is only about one-twentieth of that. Some publishers have seen revenue that was actually lower than what they got from Texture.

One of the biggest problems could be that Apple News+ exists inside the Apple News app, causing confusion with readers as to which articles are free and which are paid. The Apple News+ team frequently asked for feedback from major publishers since the launch. Magazine-centric layouts and the ability to convert magazine content to app content were some of the biggest concerns.

Apple is currently on a “listening tour” to fix the biggest issues. Peter Stern, an Apple VP working on cloud services, and Liz Schimel, head of news business at Apple News, are supposedly two of the main Apple execs running point on fixing the issues. Some of the changes coming to the app could be UI tweaks that make it easier to navigate the app, though specific details on proposed changes weren’t revealed.