Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) 2015 Keynote had some surprises for the market. The Keynote for the week-long San Francisco-based developers conference saw the launches of OS X El Capitan, iOS 9 as well as Apple’s new streaming music service, Apple Music. In addition to this Apple has also replaced Newsstand with a Flipboard-like app called Apple News. Publishers will be able to publish content directly to the app, which has a beautiful magazine-like interface for reading.
The news might be a big one for Apple fan boys but it isn’t for Facebook, at a time when its recently launched Instant Articles has gone quite for unknown reasons.
Earlier last month, Facebook introduced Instant Articles, a new product for publishers to create fast, interactive articles on the social network. Instant Articles debuted with rich-media stories from The New York Times, BuzzFeed, National Geographic, and six other outlets that will be globally visible from Facebook’s iPhone app.
It was also stated that depending on the results of the initial test, Facebook hopes to add more publishers in the coming weeks with the goal of making it available to any outlet that shares stories on Facebook. An Android version is also forthcoming notes The Verge.
While some showed concern, other publishing houses were happy to leverage Facebook’s reach. “Obviously our brands will be in there, it’s just a matter of time,” said Troy Young, president of Hearst Magazines Digital Media to DigiDay. Hearst wasn’t alone. Time Inc., CNN and other top publishers were expected to start posting their content directly to the platform themselves in the coming months.
But things are not looking good for Facebook’s publishing platform as reported by Business Insider. “But for all the initial panic and industry buzz, the actual launch has been much slower and less dramatic than anyone expected.”
After getting the media industry all tizzy, Facebook Instant Articles has gone silent.
Facebook posts links to all the Instant Articles here. BuzzFeed, The Atlantic, National Geographic, NBC, and The New York Times have shared Instant Articles stories (one each) so far, but The Guardian, BBC, Spiegel Online, and Bild have not. No new stories have been published since launch.
The fastest growing media company, Facebook didn’t give a concrete timeline for its Instant Articles roll-out plans and it seems it has been experimenting more to appease its first set of publishers.
On the other hand, yesterday Apple announced a new mobile news-reading product – News, Facebook has competition. Due out in the fall, News has already tied up with dozens of big media partners including The New York Times, Condé Nast and ESPN. Publishers will be able to draw (and keep) revenue from ads in the new app. Although publishers will be able to sell ads in the new app too.
The Apple app looks strikingly similar to Flipboard, a news aggregated app that pulls in content from around the web and presents it to users in a magazine-style format. Apple has promised a strong branding than Facebook for publishers, discovery and curation and stressed personalization in its presentation. News has a feed, “For You,” and the more you read, the more personalized it will become.
The other advantage Apple News has over Facebook is that it’s giving publishers the ability to promote subscriptions, newsletters and other direct interactions with readers. Apple News isn’t as much a revenue play as a desire to serve the reader, so its pitch focused on providing the best user experience possible, writes DigiDay.
On revenue sharing both allow publishers to keep 70 percent of the revenue if the platform does the selling. However, Apple’s terms are “favorable, feels like a win-win,” one major publisher said.
Nonetheless, one can’t rule out Facebook News at this point but one can’t deny the fact that Apple News is a worthy competitor.
Header image credit: Verge