Apple opens its iOS News app to all publishers

Apple’s News app, which is installed on all iOS devices, is now open to all publishers. When it launched in fall 2015, News app’s publishing tools were only available to Apple’s partners, including big media players like Conde Nast, The New York Times, and CNN. Now anyone, including humble bloggers, can sign up and monetize their content.

The News app, however, isn’t going to be a free-for-all. Apple needs to approve content creators before they have access to publishing tools.

The company will roll out a document format for News content, called Apple News Format, that lets publishers customize content, including text, photos galleries, videos, and animations, for the News app. Creators who don’t want to bother with Apple News Format can submit RSS feeds to News Publisher, the iCloud application that pushes articles to the News app. Publishers then monitor traffic with  News Publisher’s analytic tools and insert ads into their content with iAd, Apple’s advertising platform.

Though Apple News is on all iPhones and iPads, it’s unclear how much money publishers might actually be able to make. For one thing, Apple News already had a host of rivals when it launched. Flipboard is the most obvious one, but it also competes for eyeballs with services like Facebook Instant Articles and Snapchat Discover.

Furthermore, the Wall Street Journal reported two months ago that Apple had been underestimating the number of readers who use app and giving inaccurate information to its publishing partners, which made it difficult for them to manage advertising. Eddy Cue, Apple’s senior vice president of Internet Software and Services, told WSJ that the company was fixing the issue in order to give more accurate numbers to its partners, which of course is essential if it wants to attract and keep good content creators.