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Small Publishers Express Frustration Over Apple News+ Favoring Bigger Publishers

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Apple News+ is only active for almost a month, but it has already caused issues for participating publishers. Many of the problems stem from article formatting and Apple's supposed unequal treatment of smaller publishing companies.  ( William Iven | Pixabay )

Several publishers are already having issues with Apple News+ even though the service has only been available for less than a month.

Among the early problems participating publishers are facing include article formatting, losing digital ad campaigns, and Apple's alleged unfair treatment of smaller companies.

Unequal Treatment Of Publishers

When Apple first unveiled its new Apple News+ service in March, the tech company told publishers that they will be given article templates and other design resources to help them fine-tune their content. However, Apple's promise is beginning to turn out as "half true."

In an article by news website Digiday, some publishers who signed up for the service expressed their disappointment at Apple's supposed premium news service.

Sources said participating publishers were encouraged to send in their pitches for content design to Apple. These would then be reviewed by a team of designers handled by ex-Wired editor Jason Tanz.

Companies were given an official e-mail address where they could submit their ideas, and they will receive a response from Apple representatives.

However, Apple is said to favor a separate, more exclusive group of publishers. Members were given access to a Slack channel, where they could contact Apple representatives directly.

Some participating publishers are upset at what they think is unequal treatment from Apple.

"They're basically playing favorites," a source said. "It always seems to be good for the big guys, but not for the rest of us."

No Article Or Content Templates

Apple also reportedly failed to give publishers access to article and content templates. The tech company may have helped participating publishers come up with their unique templates in the past.

However, it has since outsourced the article template-making process to third-party vendors. Many of the templates produced so far are not up to snuff for web publishers' liking.

Formatting Issues

Publishers who signed up to Apple News+ are also having difficulties adapting their content to the service's format. Most of them have to use different software to turn their articles and ads into PDF files first before they could be converted for uploading to Apple News+.

Multiple sources said publishers would have to edit their content again individually to make sure that each one gets uploaded to Apple's service correctly. This makes the entire process laborious and problematic for many participants.

Smaller publishers are often left at a disadvantage since they do not have the time or resources to create their own template designs. They do not have enough choices to make their content more appealing to readers.

Uneven User Experience

Participants also have to deal with uneven user experience with Apple News+. Some published would often spend a lot of money on custom designs, while others would have to settle with using only PDF versions of their print editions.

Considering Apple's penchant for using unique designs for its products, the news service "doesn't feel like that at all," according to a source.

Apple News+ only has a few weeks since the beginning of the operation, so some early issues can be expected as it works toward improving its service.

However, some participating publishers are said to be growing fearful of the future of Apple News+ unless Apple does something drastic to address the issues.

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