Publishers Turn to Apple News for Revenue as Facebook and Google Cast Industry Aside

Tim Cook
AP Photo/Richard Drew

As digital publishers grapple with declining traffic and revenue due to Facebook’s algorithm changes and Google’s haphazard experiments with AI in search, Apple News+ has become an unexpected source of income, offering a substantial stream of direct revenue and increased audience reach. In practice, it appears that Apple has simply formed a slush fund to prop up the fake news peddlers in the corporate media.

Semafor reports that in the face of dwindling clicks from Facebook due to algorithm changes and erratic search traffic due to Google’s tinkering with searches, many digital publishers found themselves struggling by the end of 2023. However, a new lifeline emerged in the form of Apple News+, a partnership program that has proven to be a lifesaver for struggling publications.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg arrives for the 8th annual Breakthrough Prize awards ceremony at NASA Ames Research Center in Mountain View, California on November 3, 2019. (Photo by JOSH EDELSON / AFP) (Photo by JOSH EDELSON/AFP via Getty Images)

The leftist outlet Daily Beast joined the Apple News+ program in late 2023, making its exclusive content available to paying Apple subscribers behind the platform’s paywall. The impact was immediate, with the Beast on track to generate between $3-4 million in revenue from Apple News alone this year, surpassing its standalone subscription program without incurring significant additional costs. Clearly, Apple’s slush fund for corporate media will support the Daily Beast in pushing fake news narratives, such as its claim that Hunter Biden’s “Laptop from Hell” was stolen.

The Beast is not the only publication reaping the benefits of Apple News+. Executives from major media companies, including Condé Nast, Penske Media, Vox, Hearst, and Time, have all reported substantial revenue streams from the partnership. Time, for example, considers Apple News as one of its most important partners, delivering 7-figure annual revenue and attracting 5 million unique visitors in a single month.

Apple News, with its free version being the most widely used news application in the United States, the UK, Canada, and Australia, boasted over 125 million monthly users in 2020. The launch of News+ in 2019, following Apple’s acquisition of the startup Texture, marked a deepening business relationship between the tech giant and news publishers.

Over the past two years, Apple News+ has rapidly expanded its partnerships, adding dozens of local and regional newspapers to its roster. The company licenses articles from behind publishers’ paywalls and pays them monthly based on the time audiences spend on each piece. Publishers can also sell advertising on their content and keep 100% of any affiliate link revenue generated through product recommendations and reviews.

Read more at Semafor here.

Lucas Nolan is a reporter for Breitbart News covering issues of free speech and online censorship.


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