One news app, three editions. This is the concept behind ABC’s News’ new app, which comes in three versions: morning, midday and evening.
Why the change? “We realized that people are using the app in different ways at different points of the day,” said ABC’s senior vice president of digital, Joe Ruffolo to Jeff Sonderman at Poynter.
ABC News has had almost two years to observe how its audience is engaging with its content on the iPad, after launching its first iPad app in July 2010, as paidContent points out. The article says ABC News’ digital team found that iPad use peaks in the evening, between 7pm and 10pm, when users watched one and a half times more video, and read 20% more stories than at any other time of day. The team also found that half of all news stories consumed on the iPad were read in the morning and evening.
As a result, the new editions of ABC News’ app are adapted to the kind of information its audiences prefers to consume at different times of day. As Sonderman reports, the morning edition of the app focuses on top headlines and weather, the midday version incorporates a little more video content, lifestyle and feature stories, and the evening “prime time” edition will focus on longer video. Weekends will feature a mix of the three versions, says Sonderman.
ABC is by no means the first to notice changing levels of iPad consumption throughout the day, and to try to adapt to it. As Daniel Terdiman pointed out in an article for CNET last February, many new aggregators have responded to the same phenomenon by tweaking their iPhone strategy, to make sure it compliments what they offer on the iPad.
Terdiman wrote that several companies have found that users were consuming content in the daytime on their iPhones, then relaxing with their iPads after dinner. Social news-reader app Flipboard, which was originally only available on the iPad, launched an iPhone version, which was well adapted to news consumed in bite-sized chunks. Thanks to the release on the iPhone, Flipboard saw “usage flatten out from the peaks (in the morning and evening) to being more consistent throughout the day," said Flipboard spokesperson Marci McCue, quoted by Terdiman.
Whether the same concept will work with ABC News’s new morning/midday/evening editions is yet to be seen. If it is a success, Sonderman suggests that it could offer new advertising opportunities to ABC News, which could sell ad spots for the different versions at different rates.