Last week, we hosted a Tech Talk at the PPA to discuss the facts and implications of Apple News with publishers.
After presenting what facts we had gathered about Apple News and other media publishing channels like Facebook and Flipboard, we opened the discussion up to publishers to talk about their views on what this could mean for them.
Concerns were raised about how effective branding on individual articles would be when they are disconnected from the website or magazine – fonts and colour schemes are designed to be cohesive, and may have little impact if read as a single article. One publisher suggested that readers weren’t particularly bothered by branding, and that the quality of the content was the most important factor to focus on when growing readership.
Another major discussion focused on the opportunity this could bring to re-publish old content that is still relevant (‘Greenfield’ content). There was agreement that as long as Apple allow it, re-publishing old content would be a good way to engage readers without giving away new, premium content and could help encourage subscriptions.
Although some were concerned about giving away content for free, one publisher pointed out that this was not a new model. Most publishers have been giving away 200, 500 or 700-word articles on their websites or as part of blogs to push readers to subscribe. This model wouldn’t be hard to continue in extra social and media channels like Instant Articles, Flipboard or Apple News.
Critically, most agreed that it would be risky to canibalise content to one producer (Apple News, in this case) as it risks alienating the others. Publishers will therefore have to weigh up production costs and publishing tools to minimise the time it’ll take to push content out through as many channels as possible.
This is a brief summary of some of the key issues raised during the session. For a full set of research and discussion notes, see bit.ly/applenewsppa.