Tuesday, November 6, 2012

NowThis News launches its first iOS app; start-up somewhat resembles another video news app, Newsy

A new video news start-up from Huffington Post expats Ken Lerer and Eric Hippeau got its share of press yesterday with posts on many of the tech sites on the release of the site's first mobile and tablet app.

NowThis News is a universal iOS app that takes the video news content from the start-ups website and reformats it smartly for the iPhone or iPad (or iPod touch, let's not forget).

What I found interesting about most of the tech site posts, however, was the lack of reference to another news app that has been around for a while, Newsy.

Newsy is the product of the Media Convergence Group. It's model is the same as NowThis News in that it aggregates news video found online, creates a bit of their own and adds video hosts to the content. It is the way aggregation is done – which I've always thought was a way to justify taking other people's content. The idea is that the new video news site will be superior due to professional curation.

The problem with Newsy is two-fold: the content isn't always timely and that interesting, and the video hosting and production seems, well, a bit cheesy.

NowThis News takes cheesy to runs with it.

While the website for the start-up is a long collection of boxes containing the video content (and I mean long), the app is more manageable. I would have expected a Flipboard look, but I think they've done a bit better here. The downside is that while the website shows off its large amount of content, the app organizes it more.

Will the NowThis News app be a hit? It's beyond my ability to tell, it isn't really targeted to someone like me (older). I've never been a fan of Flipboard or other similar apps, but I understand their appeal and now they have been succeeded in attracting an audience.

I think there is definitely a need for a good video news aggregation web and app product. But at some point producers may rebel and begin to crack down on aggregation - if, that is, a product proves too successful at what it attempts to do.

The new app, by the way, is a free download with an Android app promised. NowThis News will obviously be looking to be supported by advertising to make a go of it to cover the costs of editing/producing 20+ videos each day for its website, and now its app.

The video walk-through below gives you a good idea of the app. The bit of audio/video break-up near the end really showed up on my iPad. Whether that was a streaming issue, or a sign of bad memory management, I do not know. Generally, though, videos streamed without hesitation and in good quality.