By Garett Sloane

Apple is making changes to its news service, including a deal with Verizon to sell ads and new guidelines for publishers, as it tries to make the platform more accessible to marketers and media.

On Thursday, Verizon Media won the right to sell ads for Apple News and Apple Stocks in Canada, Australia and the U.K. Verizon Media is the entity built from the acquisitions of Yahoo and AOL. Verizon touted the deal as a way for advertisers to tap into its automated ad network to place native, display and video ads in the “brand safe” Apple News.

Meanwhile, NBC Universal announced this week that it extended an exclusive deal first struck in 2016 to sell Apple News ad inventory in the United States.

“For Verizon and NBC, they love to have the additional ad inventory to sell,” says Brian Wieser, GroupM’s global president of business intelligence. “And Apple doesn’t necessarily want to invest in the sales force to maximize the value of that inventory.”

These deals give Verizon and NBC rights to choice ad inventory in the Apple News environment, like the “top stories” section, which features articles from a variety of publications. The other publishers can sell ads in their proprietary channels and articles, while NBC and Verizon fill any leftover ad space.

The terms of the deals were not disclosed, so it’s unclear how much money Verizon and NBC guaranteed to Apple to control the ad sales. Apple, Verizon and NBC declined to comment for this story.

Apple News is popular, attracting 90 million readers a month in the United States, according to comScore, but it has been a challenge for many publishers. “The money is underwhelming,” according to one top publishing ad sales executive, who works closely with Apple and spoke on condition of anonymity. It’s a sentiment that has been shared by a number of publishing partners participating in Apple News (and Apple News Plus, the $10 all-you-can read monthly subscription service).

There are a number of reasons the service is tough terrain for publishers. One is Apple’s strict privacy rules, which mean that publishers don’t get granular insights into who reads their stories. Apple also puts restrictions on how advertisers can use data to target ads and then measure their effectiveness on Apple News.

Unique partnerships

The Apple deals give NBC and Verizon unique integration with the platform, which could make working with them more attractive than doing deals with individual publishers.

This week, NBC shared new information about ad sales on Apple News, claiming that brands are pouring in. “We increased the number of advertisers on the platform by 2X,” NBC said in its online statement about the renewed deal. It did not say how many advertisers in total or mention revenue, however.

NBC Universal shares 12 of its media brands to Apple News, including “Saturday Night Live,” “Today,” and NBC News.

Meanwhile, Verizon Media owns properties like Yahoo News, Huffington Post and TechCrunch.

Verizon and NBC now have sales rights in different regions, but publishers like Bloomberg News and The Washington Post can …read more

Via:: Ad Age B to B