- David Kang is leaving his role as senior director of Apple News monetization after a year in the position, Digiday reported. Apple News, a pre-installed app on Apple phones and tablets, is a platform for news and information publishers that seeks to reach the tech giant’s vast audience of mobile users.
- Kang, a Harvard Business School grad, joined Apple in 2014 as a teacher at Apple University, the company’s in-house leadership training program. He previously was chief revenue officer at Wenner Media, the publisher of Rolling Stone and Men’s Journal magazines.
- Apple News has seen several managerial changes in the past year. Donna Ogier, who oversaw media partnerships for Apple News, joined Snap Inc. in February to work on Snapchat’s Discover section. Keith Moerer, former managing director of publishing relations and editorial, left in May, according to his LinkedIn profile. David Bowers, head of business development, and Dana Lacey, who was in business development and partnerships, also left Apple News, Digiday reported.
The news suggests underscores the ongoing challenges in monetizing digital news more broadly and suggests Apple News, more specifically, may be struggling to gaining traction with advertisers. David Kang’s reasons for leaving Apple News aren’t exactly clear, but the job likely was frustrating for an executive with a background in selling ads, as Digiday notes.
Apple News has the advantage of being preinstalled on every iPhone and iPad that Apple ships, giving the news aggregation app an audience of 70 million users. But publishers have expressed frustration with the tech giant over how to monetize content on the platform. Publishers hoped that Apple News would provide an additional channel to reach readers, and help to pry open the digital ad market from the dominance of Facebook and Google. Last month, Apple News partnered with Google DoubleClick, a development that has the potential to smooth the process for placing ads.
Last year, Apple News turned to NBCUniversal to start selling ads, but publishers reportedly haven’t seen much money from the deal.
Since Apple is mostly in the business of selling mobile devices, the company is protective of user privacy, and even added features to its mobile operating system to let customers opt out of interest-based and location-based ads. Privacy advocates have criticized the company for its ability to track the movements of iPhone users, and dozens of articles show how to enable the privacy features of Apple devices. The company has a wealth of information about its users, including payment information to make purchases in the App Store and iTunes, but has been reluctant to use the data to build an ad business.
Publishers can sell their own ad inventory on Apple News, but the lack of third-party measurement data hinders the ability of publishers to monetize the platform. Still, USA Today, Bloomberg News and CBS News told Digiday that they are pleased with the traffic they get from Apple News, even if the ad revenue is comparably insignificant.