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News+ publishers not told of app changes, traffic loss 'a big deal'

Apple News+ My Magazines on iPhone
Apple News+ My Magazines on iPhone (Image credit: iMore)

What you need to know

  • Publishers say they were not told of upcoming changes to Apple News+.
  • A report earlier this week says Apple will open all article links inside its news app.
  • Publishers says meaningful traffic being diverted from their own sites is "a big deal."

Apple News+ publishers say they weren't told of upcoming changes to Apple's new app, and that the new changes could mean "meaningful traffic loss" for their sites.

As reported by AdAge:

Apple did not inform three large publishers about a change in its software that would redirect user traffic away from their websites and toward its News+ app instead, according to three executives inside the companies that have direct dealings regarding Apple News+.

Earlier this week, it emerged Apple News would change the way it handles links in iOS 14 and macOS Big Sur:

Reported by MacRumors, the new software is introducing a toggle that will open web links from Apple News+ publishers directly in the Apple News app instead of taking users to the publisher's website.

As expected, some publishers aren't happy about the move, which they say could cause significant loss of traffic to their websites. From the report:

Two of the executives at the publishers told Ad Age they receive decent traffic through their deal with Apple, but are now questioning how it will impact their bottom line, as they each have greater monetization opportunities through their owned properties.Terminating the partnership with Apple would take several months, not years, to execute, one of them said. "The math around this becomes really hard to justify," this person added. "From a [revenue per thousand impressions] perspective, it is not like Apple is crushing it right now. But if there's meaningful traffic loss, it will be a big deal."

Not only are the publishers upset about the potential lost traffic, they also weren't told about the changes, two stating they had learned about the change through press releases and social media.

The news follows reports Apple may be planning to bundle its News+ service with other subscriptions as part of a new 'Apple One' bundle.

Stephen Warwick
News Editor

Stephen Warwick has written about Apple for five years at iMore and previously elsewhere. He covers all of iMore's latest breaking news regarding all of Apple's products and services, both hardware and software. Stephen has interviewed industry experts in a range of fields including finance, litigation, security, and more. He also specializes in curating and reviewing audio hardware and has experience beyond journalism in sound engineering, production, and design.

Before becoming a writer Stephen studied Ancient History at University and also worked at Apple for more than two years. Stephen is also a host on the iMore show, a weekly podcast recorded live that discusses the latest in breaking Apple news, as well as featuring fun trivia about all things Apple.