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Will Apple News Serve as Solid Content Distribution Platform for Publishers?

Content distribution platform opportunities and challenges for digital magazines

There’s no such thing as an excess of content distribution platform outlets – the more the merrier, as far as Mequoda Members are concerned.

But Apple Newsstand certainly had its fair share of detractors despite the visibility and content monetization it could provide digital publishers during its better moments.

Now phased out, it gives way to the highly anticipated Apple News – which officially goes live today – a publisher app that will operate much differently and comes with its own criticisms … as well as upside.

What are publishers doing to maximize that potential? Digiday, always on top of it, reports on the plans of several legacies and digital natives, while also covering some concerns.

How U.S. Publishers Are Approaching Apple News as Content Distribution Platform

CNN, Time Inc., Vox, and Wired are all going all in on Apple News, Digiday reports.

“The News app is just the latest come-on by a platform to have publishers distribute their articles and videos straight to its app,” Lucia Moses writes. “But while some publishers took a cautious approach to posting straight to Facebook earlier this year, many are going all in with Apple News, where they see a chance to get in front of a sizeable audience that they’re not reaching elsewhere (articles read on Apple News will count toward the publishers’ traffic).”

CNN is producing unprecedented levels of content within the app itself, while Vox is looking forward to selling ads there. Time Inc. is making sure its complete brand lineup is represented, and Wired plans on posting two dozen articles a day with a dedicated staff and WordPress plugin, according to Digiday.

… While UK Publishers Still Wait for Its Debut

Though publishers like the aforementioned have been able to beta Apple News as a content distribution platform, UK publishers might have to wait upward of months for the trans-Atlantic rollout despite efforts to prep and produce stories, Digiday reports.

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What Are Some Current Content Distribution Platform Concerns?

As publishers look forward to giving Apple News a spin and continue to experiment with other outlets, Digiday examines trouble spots for some execs. The takeaways? Formatting, opportunity cost, and data analytics.

“Data can be an issue. Facebook gives us a significant level of data, but something like Instagram doesn’t really have any real viable data for publishers outside of the standard engagement metrics. The same thing goes for publishers who are distributing content through Snapchat via the ‘Stories’ feature, which doesn’t have the same data or analytics as publisher that is distributing directly through Discover. I can see how it can be daunting to not have that level of transparency,” NowThis Senior Vice President of Production Steven Belser told Ricardo Bilton.

“Still, if you’re serious about the distributed model, there’s still a lot of data to form valid conclusions about your audience. It might not be as robust as some pubs would like, but it’s there.”

You name the content distribution platform, and we can help you master it. Download our free Multiplatform Publishing Strategy Handbook today!

To read more about content distribution platform news, visit Digiday.

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