Bloomberg Says Apps Are the New Magazines and Newspapers

Are apps really the new magazines? (We don’t agree, but keep reading to see why Bloomberg might think so).

Bloomberg Media says their current focus is appsAccording to Digiday, “Starting with its redesigned flagship mobile app, Bloomberg plans to launch several new apps in the coming year with a focus on delivering personalized content to users in a more seamless and controllable fashion than what’s currently available on the mobile web and inside social platforms.”

“Apps are the new magazines and newspapers,” said Scott Havens, global head of digital for Bloomberg Media. “I know if I have brand affinity [for a publisher], it’s because I get what I need and I find it a useful part of my daily media diet — that’s the underlying philosophy for the app.”

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With an app that receives 2.5 million unique visitors per month, their goal, according to Digiday, is to increase usage. It’s also better looking and reads more like a web magazine than a mobile-friendly text-based app.

“Six months in the making, the new Bloomberg app has a completely overhauled interface. It replaces the previous app’s pared-down, black-and-white design with more color and imagery. And instead of a “hamburger”-based navigation menu, the new app comes with tabs on the bottom of the screen — similar to the current Facebook app. (This is intentional as Havens said the previous setup wasn’t working that well. “Who better to copy than the biggest platform in the world?” he said.)

There are also practical reasons for the new design. The previous version of the app did not do a good job of highlighting Bloomberg’s media and markets content — the new one does. For instance, the media tab curates Bloomberg’s library of on-demand videos, radio streams, podcasts and even its TV channel. On the home tab, Bloomberg also posts markets data as banners at the top of the screen, which users can click on to quickly access the markets page.

The ad experience has also been given more thought as advertisers will now have the option to run ads in-between pieces of editorial content as users scroll down the page. This set-up also allows for sponsored posts to be embedded within the page.”

One neat feature of the app, which is a departure from traditional news magazine apps, is that “within the main tab, users will now get a personalized stream of three to five relevant stories depending on what time of day it is — morning, afternoon or evening — and where they’re accessing the app.” This customized feature could improve user happiness with current app users, but will it attract new ones?

The one part we’ll comment on, is that it appears that the major goal here is to get people within their app, instead of people getting their news through social sites. While we agree a major app strategy is great, trying to defeat the lions of social won’t likely be won with an app. Maybe they saw the data from Comscore that 87% of mobile use is spent in apps, but may have quite possibly skipped over the idea that those apps may very well be internet browsers, Facebook, or Twitter apps.

That’s part of the reason why we’ve been recommending publishers spend more time on their web magazine, making it compatible on every device so that it’s not locked in the box of an app, (although we suggest having an app too of course – you can’t ignore such a large marketplace!)

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