Apple has been undercounting readership on its News platform

Rob Attrell

January 11, 2016 11:57am

News platforms on the Internet have been growing rapidly as big companies seek to keep users in their apps, providing them with stories that load quickly and are visually compelling.

When Apple entered the crowded market with the launch of their dedicated News app, nobody was quite sure how iOS users, and publishers, would react. Online metrics company comScore predicted that approximately a billion hours per month have been spent reading mobile news sites by the end of 2015, a number that is more than double what it was just two years ago.

However, when it comes to Apple’s News service, a recently uncovered glitch means that the company has been underreporting traffic to news stories, as well as the platform’s total number of regular readers. Eddy Cue, Apple’s vice-president of internet software and services, said that 40 million people have used the app since its launch last Fall. Many of the world’s biggest news outlets are publishing content on Apple News – Bloomberg and The New York Times, for example – and most describe their relationships with Apple in a positive light.

Apple News isn’t the first attempt from Apple to allow publishers to showcase their content on iOS, but at 40 million users, it might be their most successful to date. While many magazines and periodicals attempted to publish using Apple’s Newsstand, its popularity never took off and the portal was closed this past fall.

Apple has been responsive to feedback about News and is addressing the glitches related to recording traffic. Add this issue to the fact that the app is only available in the U.S., U.K., and Australia, and it’s clear there is still a lot of potential for the platform to reach a more significant audience.

  • gommer strike

    As an FYI, Apple News indeed isn’t supported here in Canada. But if you set the region on your iPhone to US, and reboot – the News app appears in your home screen.

    Delivery of news in general via Apple News is pretty good. However there are certain magazines where even though they’re selectable – they have no content(or aren’t delivering any to Apple News). A bit weird but I think some are shying away a bit due to lack of any advertising revenue.

    • Frederick The Great

      Yes I notice the BBC, Wall Street Journal and Washington Post are a few of the feeds not sending stories through. Additionally, there is NYT stories that are still 10 weeks old.
      Interesting but the app doesn’t seem to be reaching its full potential.

    • gommer strike

      Yeah isn’t that kinda…particular, hey? Unfortunately for me, I don’t have an US-created iTunes account, so therefore I do not get to see any WSJ content through Apple News, and I believe same goes for Vanity Fair.

      Sigh at least there’s always Longform for the WSJ stuff that I miss out on. As for stuff from the New York Times, Google Newstands does an OK job, but something I also noticed is the whole “you only have X more free articles this month” notification from NYT.

    • Frederick The Great

      I subscribe to NTY separately so this isn’t an issue for me. It makes sense they are limiting content in this way otherwise anyone in the world could switch regions and gain access to content that is only meant for specific countries for now. Seems kinda silly for news articles.

      As an FYI for you if you’re interested in creating a U.S. account switch your iTunes to the U.S. region. and then attempt to buy a free app you’d like. It’ll prompt you to create a new account and in doing so make sure you use a U.S. address and proper ZIP code. Then choose “None’ for payment methods and voila…you’re set to go. Of course remember to use an entirely different email from your Canadian account.