NBC extends exclusive Apple News ad partnership as it becomes a ‘meaningful’ business

NBCUniversal will continue to be the exclusive seller of advertisements in Apple News and Apple Stocks, according to a new report from Axios. This new deal is an extension of the partnership first announced back in 2016.

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In 2016, Apple shut down its iAd network, which impacted the advertising business of Apple News. Apple then revealed that it was entering an exclusive partnership with NBCUniversal, letting the company run ad sales for Apple News. Publishers can still sell their own ads, but NBCUniversal handles the rest.

Today’s report says that NBCUniversal has extended its partnership with Apple News, and will now expand to Apple Stocks as well.

NBCUniversal business operations executive Krishan Bhatia didn’t detail how much money the company makes from its Apple News business, but she did say that “it’s a very meaningfully-sized business compared to what we do on Youtube, Twitter or Snapchat.” She added that the number of advertisers on the platform has doubled over the last year to “multiple hundreds.”

Bhatia also noted that the Apple News audience is highly engaged:

“It’s a highly-scaled audience with high engagement in a premium content environment. The average user spends over an hour per month on it.”

As Axios notes, however, NBCUniversal is making money from Apple News – but many publishers are not:

While NBCU is making money, most smaller publishers Axios has spoken with say they aren’t. It’s common to hear publishers say they get millions of monthly views on Apple News, but rarely make any real money off of them.

Apple News does let publishers sell ads against their own content, and keep 100% of revenues they sell themselves, but it takes a cut of ads they sell on behalf of publishers on its platform.

In addition to Apple News, Apple also offers the subscription Apple News+ service for $10 per month. Some publishers are underwhelmed with the early performance of that subscription service, but Apple has promised improvements across the board.

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