Tuesday, September 1, 2015

What Publishers Should Know About iOS 9

Marko Karppinen:

Ad blocking apps on iOS will not be able to perform heuristic analysis of web content to recognize and block ads, which is what most advanced desktop blockers do; instead, the blocker must prepare explicit rules for the URLs and page element names Safari should block. This system makes it easy to target common trackers, beacons and ad networks, but blocking first-party ad serving will be much more difficult.

We see this feature affecting the mobile publishing landscape in two ways. Most importantly, widespread web ad blocking clearly bolsters the case for native apps over web sites: publishers will remain in complete control over the way content and ads appear in their native apps.


On the App Store side, Newsstand makes way for a new App Store category called Magazines & Newspapers. It will be just like any other App Store section, with one benefit remaining exclusive to periodicals: publications will continue to be able to change their app descriptions and screenshots at will, not just when uploading a new version of their app. These updates will have to be made manually, though: the Atom feeds that enabled automatic updates of issue descriptions and cover images will no longer be supported.

And, speaking of issue cover images, they are gone from the App Store and the devices, just like the rest of the Newsstand feature.


Apple News also raises the bar for news reading experiences on the platform. Most current newspaper and magazine apps are simply not as nice to use as Apple News will be. This is something publishers will have to address if they wish to convert Apple News readers to paying regulars in their own apps. In iOS 9, after all, the button back to Apple News will beckon them on the status bar.

Dave Hamilton:

Content blockers in iOS 9 (or, indeed, every other platform that will eventually adopt them in a similar way) don’t mean the end of ads on the web or the end of your favorite publishers. They just mean the end of massive third-party aggregators that rely on complex browser-run scripts to serve ads en masse to thousands of different web sites daily. If a website wants to take a direct sponsorship (as we do here at TMO), iOS 9’s content blockers won’t stop you from seeing that. If a website wants to run its own scriptless ad server engine and serve simple ad images (as we used to here at TMO), nothing will stop you from seeing those. There’s no reason for content blockers to stop you from seeing those because they’re delivered just like the text or an image in an article — and you certainly wouldn’t want a content blocker to stop you from getting that.

Frankly, I’m pretty bullish on the concept of iOS 9’s Content Blockers, and am looking forward to their mass adoption. Yes, it means we’ll need to abandon some of the easy/remnant methods of earning money here, but most of those methods have become worth less and less to us — and become more and more annoying to you, our readers.

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