Liz Schimel , head of the business area of Apple News+, has left the company. Bloomberg reported the departure, which comes almost a year after the launch of the paid news service. Although the company has not released official figures, other reports indicate that the service’s start-up has been slow.
Looking for a reputable substitute in the sector
Schimel’s departure follows the launch of the paid subscription. Apple News started as a free app in 2015, its main function is to choose the best news and reports and give them prominence. Initially, the service was only available in the US.
At the last shareholders’ conference, Apple revealed that Apple News has exceeded 100 million monthly users (it would be more useful to know the daily figure, MAU vs DAU). News currently has a version in USA, Canada, UK and Australia . There are no plans to add more countries although it would be logical to land in France, Germany, Italy or Spain next.
According to Bloomberg, Apple is looking for a replacement for Schimel from the media sector. The already ex-business manager of Apple News+ had an interesting profile for the company, since she worked both in multimedia services (Comcast) and in technology companies (Nokia), including the well-known editorial of Condé Nast magazines .
The editorial part of Apple News remains intact. Lauren Kern continues to lead a team of journalists who choose one by one the news items that are highlighted in Apple News, using algorithms for the rest of the content. Kern also comes from the editorial world, with extensive experience in New York Magazine.
A popular app, but difficult to monetize
If Apple News was launched in 2015, it took the company four more years to introduce its paid-for Apple News+ version. Under a $10 a month subscription, users could access hundreds of magazines . Apple bought the company behind Texture, a magazine subscription service that News+ has inherited directly.
Where Apple has encountered the most reticence has been on the side of the newspapers. Only Canada’s Toronto Star, the Wall Street Journal and the Los Angeles Times are on the service. The written press, especially newspapers, has been suffering for several lustrums because of its adaptation to the online medium. To fight against the deflation caused by the dictatorship of the analytics , visits and clicks, many are choosing to erect walls of payment around their most precious content.
So far, Apple News+ has only managed to attract three major newspapers, which diminishes its appeal to users
According to several leaks, newspapers are reluctant to join Apple News+ for various reasons. They fear a cannibalization of their own subscriptions as well as a dilution of their brand. And they also criticise the commission Apple takes from its own service which, in the opinion of some media, is too high.
To this situation we must add the mistrust of technology companies’ resources. Some accuse Google of “stealing” content from their search results and others bet everything on video on Facebook. The latter led to the sale of media such as Mashable , which pivoted on the Facebook video encouraged by false metrics.
AppleApple announces “a new era” in its services business after a record year
An Apple keynote is expected this March. The company may announce changes or developments in Apple News+ , in addition to the devices we expect.