Apple News is a sleeping giant — and Apple might be about to wake it up

Apple released a news-aggregator app called Apple News in 2015, and nearly two years later, it may be gaining substantial traction.

ComScore ranks it the 15th-biggest app by audience reach across both iOS and Android, with 47 million monthly users, Ad Age reported on Wednesday. In January 2016, Eddy Cue, Apple’s online-services boss, said the app had 40 million monthly users. It’s available in the United States, the UK, and Australia.

It’s reportedly a big traffic driver for some publications. But so far, there hasn’t been a good way to draw revenue from their readers on Apple News.

Publishers can run ad campaigns in Apple News, and there are ways to publish sponsored content as well, but it has been a clunky and time-consuming process. To solve this problem, Apple may be planning to allow publishers to use their own ad-campaign technology, such as Google’s DoubleClick, Ad Age reported.

Publishers using their own ad technology would make it easier for them to make money off their readers in the Apple News app.

Other plans Apple may have for its news aggregator include micropayments, according to the report. Apple News loosely competes with Facebook’s Instant Articles and Google’s AMP, neither of which allows publishers to use their own ad technology.

Among the big tech companies, Apple is the most vocal about its distaste for online advertising. Apple is including a content blocker in the latest version of its browser, Safari, and CEO Tim Cook has frequently emphasized that Apple makes its money when a consumer buys its products, instead of by providing low-cost services and targeting ads, as Google and Facebook do.

“I’m speaking to you from Silicon Valley, where some of the most prominent and successful companies have built their businesses by lulling their customers into complacency about their personal information,” Cook said in 2015. “They’re gobbling up everything they can learn about you and trying to monetize it. We think that’s wrong. And it’s not the kind of company that Apple wants to be.”

That would seem at odds with Apple letting publishers choose which tracking technology they want to use. But publishers won’t invest in Apple News unless they see a way to make money, and Apple needs publishers to entice users to come back day after day.


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