News.Me app gets supports from publishers, aggregates popular news for a small price

Apr 21, 2011
Tech

Today, News.Me, a subscription-based aggregator developed by Betaworks and The New York Times Company, has hit the Apple iTunes store, providing iPad users with a variety of news content based on their interests. The app compiles news from popular Twitter news feeds and puts them into one streamlined feed, which users can save to read […]

Today, News.Me, a subscription-based aggregator developed by Betaworks and The New York Times Company, has hit the Apple iTunes store, providing iPad users with a variety of news content based on their interests.

The app compiles news from popular Twitter news feeds and puts them into one streamlined feed, which users can save to read later via Instapaper or share through Facebook, Twitter and email. Users will pay 99 cents per week, or $34.99 for a year, to utilize the app. People without iPads can sign-up to be sent free daily digests of article recommendations over email.

With backing by the Times and the promise of sharing profits based on how many times users reach an article, the app has also received support from other publishers traditionally opposed to aggregation, including the Associated Press. Gawker Media, Forbes, Mashable and AOL have also signed on to support the app. However, publishers that haven’t could still see their content aggregated, but will not receive a share of the revenue.

Betaworks CEO John Borthwick said the app is not intended to do away with pay models already in place by news organizations. The service is instead intended to establish a sustainable business model for an application based on content culled from dozens of other sources. “We are trying to create a great social reading experience and make sure publishers get paid for people reading their stuff,” he said.

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The model is already being imitated by The Washington Post, which introduced Trove, part personalized search engine and part traditional published news source.  The web-based service, which the news company claims is a  “personalized site that aggregates news across subjects of interest and important headlines of the day,” is free and already offers an app on Android and BlackBerry, with iPhone and iPad apps set to be launched soon. Additionally, Flipboard and Zite offer additional ways to curate and consume news on the iPad.

It would only make sense (and cents) for other publishers to jump on the aggregation bandwagon if media conglomerate-backed services such as News.Me and Trove triumph and as the user experience becomes an ever more important part of the news business.

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