One thing is for sure: 2014 is shaping up to be the year mobile news consumption and innovation goes mainstream.
On Wednesday night, tech tycoon Jason Calacanis launched his long-awaited venture, Inside.com. The mobile app features recaps of stories from the "best journalism" sites on the web, with links back to original sources. The Inside.com launch follows news this week of Facebook’s upcoming news aggregator app, Paper, and other aggregators like Circa and Prismatic offering new ways for us to consume news on our phones and tablets.
This is arguably the most important trend in the news business since the rise of social media. And, as communications practitioners, we see profound implications for how this will change how marketers approach media strategies.
Specifically, here are three ways we see this affecting the communications industry:
A shift in the publications communicators target. In press interviews around the launch, Calacanis called out BuzzFeed and Business Insider as low-quality sites and promises to never feature them on Inside. Although their quality is arguably a matter of opinion, if Inside.com or other related mobile news ventures prove successful, it’s feasible that communications teams will need to begin giving strong preference to the news outlets these apps feature more heavily.
Getting your news featured on the best quality sites—and in stories people want to share—matters now more than ever.
It’s no longer just about building relationships with the journalists and bloggers doing the original reporting, but also the editors curating the news. Inside.com poached Gabriel Snyder from The Wire/Gawker Fame. Circa’s Editor-in-Chief is Anthony De Rosa, previously of Thomson Reuters. And even Flipboard, although it hasn’t publicly promoted it, has a small team of professional editors who curate its featured stories.
These editors/curators are the new gatekeepers of the next generation of news, controlling what we consume over our mobile devices. Think these people don’t matter? Guess again.
High-quality, shareable content has never been more important. The one thing that remains true across all of these apps is the preference for high-quality stories on the best sites as well as content people want to share with friends (in the case for Prismatic). This calls for a PR strategy that understands the importance of quality coverage vs. quantity. Could the days of caring about 3-page long clip reports be waning? At tMa, we certainly hope so and believe the movement to consumption of news on mobile—where only the best stories get featured—could be the impetus.
Have other ideas on how apps like Inside.com could affect the communications industry? We’d love to hear your thoughts!