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Apple News: Publishers Can Pitch Articles Through Slack, Apple News Drives Considerable Traffic to Stories

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For news publishers, Apple News is able to yield a flood of traffic, with the app itself accounting for 50-60% of the readership of particular stories, according to a report by Tom Dotan for The Information.

According to a person familiar with Vox’s numbers, Apple News has generated half of Vox.com’s daily traffic at times. Apple News has in the past accounted for up to 60% of the traffic for particular stories, says the executive at the website of a major TV network.

Tom Dotan’s report states that Apple has an editorial time, comprised of roughly a dozen former journalists, led by Roger Rosner, veteran Apple executive. This team then decides which articles get Spotlight or Top Stores section of Apple News, or if on an iPhone, the News tab (accessed by swiping left on the home screen.)

In the United States, the editorial team runs a dedicated Slack channel where publishers are free to pitch stories to Apple, favoring special features, big breaking stories, as well as multi-part series, according to the report. It’s said that Apple has comparable teams working alongside publishers in the United Kingdom and Australia.

Not all publishers praise the curation process, as small to medium sized sites argue Apple News favors big mainstream outlets, which feature prominently when a new user first signs up to Apple News.

An even larger issue facing publishers is that many don’t receive significant ad revenue from the Apple News app.

The problem goes back to how Apple sells the ad space next to the articles. Initially using its own ad team iAd, Apple later outsourced sales to NBC. Publishing executives say the integration of Google’s industry standard ad-serving tool DoubleClick would make ad sales much easier.

All this may change soon though, as Apple has supposedly started running closed tests of Google’s DoubleClick with roughly 20 publishers – this is in line with a report that came out last July. Despite this, according to the report, it’s unclear when or if Apple News will roll this out further.

Altogether, Apple News has proved more successful than initially expected, however there is plenty of progress to be made if Apple seems to become a key distribution outlet for global news publishers.