Apple’s software update cuts both ways for publishers

With the launch of its latest mobile software update, Apple is providing a new revenue outlet to the digital publishing industry, while potentially siphoning a lot of ad revenue away.

First off, the potentially bad news for the media industry. Apple has begun approving ad-blocking apps, such as Blockr. That app, which went live on Wednesday afternoon, will initially run consumers 99 cents for a limited time before eventually climbing to US$1.99, Blockr said. Blockr promises that its technology should block the majority of mobile advertising on Apple’s Safari browser as well as on many mobile apps.

A number of publishers are worried that Apple will make it easier for a wide range of consumers to block ads on mobile devices, which could seriously hurt their bottom lines. Obviously, many of these publishers are dependent on advertising revenue, and their mobile audiences are growing rapidly.

That’s the bad news. However, the new iOS software also brings with it the launch of Apple News –a news reading app where many top media companies are planning to publish content. Much of that content will carry advertising.

Some top media companies have already announced they are publishing content to Apple News today–and have secured sponsors. For example, GQ is pushing content to Apple News, and has locked in Burberry as its sponsor. Similarly, Conde Nast’s food-centric publication Epicurious is making articles available on Apple News, and has sold accompanying ads to both Campbell’s Soup and Reynolds.

Publishers get to keep 100 per cent of the ad revenue they generate on Apple News, as long as they book the ads themselves. Apple takes a 30 per cent cut of ads sold on its apps if Apple sells the ad space.

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