Publishers: Apple News+ is off to a rocky start

Print Email

From Digiday’s  ‘Basically playing favorites’, posted Monday:

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…

In pitches it made to publications, which included splashy treatments of designs it created with magazines such as the soccer title Eight By Eight, Apple reps made it seem as though Apple would be providing design resources and article templates that would make publishers’ content inside Apple News+ stand out, sources at three different publishers said…

 So far, that has proved only half true…

Smaller magazine publishers that don’t have the resources to design their own templates are stuck considering an unfavorable set of choices: Invest precious design and development manpower to create something beautiful without knowing if there is an audience to appreciate it; use an established template, which makes your content look exactly like that of dozens of other publishers; or wait things out with a PDF, and hope that having a different user experience doesn’t cost you readers.

My take: When the iPad came out, the skeleton crew still hanging on at the old Time Magazine were ordered to close three versions of every story: The printed version; the digital version (vertical); and the digital version (horizontal). The weekly newsmagazine was screwed three ways to Sunday.