September 07, 2015

Info aggregating apps: do they actually drive more ‘clicks’ to news sources?

Might pose a threat to digital traffic of newspapers, magazines

K V Kurmanath
As smartphones proliferate with bandwidth getting robust by the day, standalone third party news aggregating apps have begun to dot the Android and iOS platforms. Their promise – access the most relevant news across the world by just swiping the screen.
These apps have come of age as developers writing codes and deploying algorithms to piece together the issues sniffing at thousands of news sources across the world. Adding visual appeal, most of these news aggregators give a gist of news, giving credit to the news source. Some of them even appointed rewriters to write the ‘gists’.
‘Çlick’ missed

You ‘click’ for more info and the app would take you to the original site. If you don’t, the newspaper or magazine has just missed a ‘click’. This solves a great problem for users – be in touch with the world in real time. Those who depended on Google news filters to get alerts into their Gmail inboxes have found it quite convenient to have the alerts on their mobiles as things happen.
“I’m using News in Shorts on my phone and found it quite handy to access news. I need not visit so many sites. I can customise news flow to suit my interests,” S Durgaprasad, a graphic designer, toldBusinessLine.
But what does it hold for newspapers and magazines, which are the basic source for news? More app downloads would mean more traffic or more ‘clicks’ for their websites? Not necessarily.
One of the biggest challenges the newspaper industry facing is the arrival of online news media. Even as traditional print medium players are busy evolving their web strategies to get those vital ‘clicks’, standalone news apps have started dotting the Android and iOS platforms.
Srini Koppolu, Chief Executive Officer of the news app Veooz, says there is no way to give a click to news source when user is swiping through the feed. “That is one of the USPs of the app, to figure which stories are important, relevant to be presented to the user in context,” he points out.
Veooz has about 10,000 downloads so far. It claims to provide customised news for people in 40 countries.
Key role

“We take the user to the news source, when user clicks the title or summary on the card in the feed view. In addition when you go to 360 and looking at the summary, and if they ‘Read Full Story’ also we take them to the news source,” the former Managing Director of Microsoft India Development Centre said. ‘Clicks’ play a major role in helping the sites get advertisements and crawling up the rankings given by internet media analytics sites. News in Shorts, which has just changed its name to ‘inshorts’ with about 20 lakh downloads in Google Play, also says the ‘click’ happens only when a user chooses to read more.
“Each summary is written by its in-house team of editors, and includes a single link out of a story with further information. The news source of each article is mentioned right under the headline,” Azhar Iqubal, CEO of New in Shorts, says.
(This article was published in on August 4, 2015)
Link to the story.

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