In 2010, Flipboard founders Evan Doll and Mike McCue came together with an idea and envisioned a single place for anyone to come and enjoy personalized content for each individual user. Since their success, a series of other companies have come out with personalized news platforms and the competition has grown much since 2010. And as mentioned in a previous post, the mobile trend is everything. In 2015 alone, big names like Facebook, Snapchat, and Apple have released new mobile features or apps offering personalized news content.
Facebook’s Instant Articles
Facebook, this past May, released its latest feature: instant articles. This feature gives publishers a fast and easy way to provide interactive news content for all Facebook users on their Newsfeed. Nine big-name publishers, including New York Times, National Geographic, Buzzfeed, BBC News and the Guardian, are the first. Facebook offered these publishers 100 percent ad revenue and content exclusivity. Not only that, the layout and interface design of the feature is absolutely stunning. Vivid, high-resolution photos and autoplay videos work together to bring the stories to life for an interactive and engaging user experience.
Earlier this year, Snapchat also came out with a news content feature called Discover. Discover is a revolutionary platform where various publishers can upload their own “stories.” Snapchat claims that Discover is not a form of social media, but rather a creative space where “editors and artists, not clicks and shares, [to] determine what’s important.” Various publishers including CNN, Comedy Central, and Cosmopolitan use Discover to reach Snapchat’s 16.5 million daily users, and their channels have beautiful content, including vertical layout photos and videos, that users can easily share with friends. Not to mention, Snapchat offers advertising opportunities that seamlessly integrate with the various channels’ stories.
Most recently on June 8th at WWDC15, Apple announced News, a new reader app for iOS 9. News is “beautiful content from the world’s greatest sources personalized for you.” The app integrates “gorgeous imagery, custom layout and rich typography” to offer the best mobile-reading experience for its users. It’s interactive, fast, fluid, and above all smart. News tracks activity and can adapt to individual user preference and interests; therefore, the more you use it, the more personalized the content becomes. Big name publishers including New York Times (which already uses Facebook’s Instant Articles), ESPN, and Conde Nast already onboard to use News when it launches later this year. Apple, like Facebook, also offers publishers 100 percent of ad revenue, while publishers that already have their own apps accessible in the App Store still get a 30 percent cut. With such circumstances, publishers will only inevitably be drawn to News.
The competition for mobile news platforms will only continue to rise and it won’t be surprising to see even more emerge throughout the year. This is a huge opportunity for both publishers and advertisers; however, things may seem too good to be true, and there is still some sense of worry as publishers become increasingly dependent on these outside platforms.