The Wall Street Journal reports that Apple has mistakenly been underestimating the number of readers using Apple News and providing those inaccurate numbers to publishers:
Eddy Cue, Apple’s senior vice president of Internet Software and Services, said the company missed the error as it focused on other aspects of the product. The company didn’t explain how the problem occurred or say exactly when it might be rectified.
“We’re in the process of fixing that now, but our numbers are lower than reality,” he said. “We don’t know what the right number is,” but he added that it was better to undercount than overcount traffic.
A curious admission from Apple, particularly given that the issue has not been fixed yet. No details are given about the scale of the miscalculation, so it’s unclear as to whether this will result in a minor adjustment or significant adjustment in reader statistics.
Executives from Apple, including Mr. Cue, met with publishers late last year to discuss the product and address concerns. Mr. Cue said Apple will continue to spend a lot of time getting feedback from publishers.
Two months ago there were a few reports, including this one from Digiday, which noted that publishers were “underwhelmed” and “dissapointed” by Apple News, and the reader numbers.