South Africa’s biggest online news portal, News24.com, has launched a free iPad app that has seen a total of 31 476 downloads in just two months. And its City Press app, while still in the testing phase, looks as if its print to digital integration is going to be equally successful.
News24 editor Jannie Momberg told TheMediaOnline that News24 is “investing in all platforms, including applications. We have put a major focus the last 18 months on building out our application profile on all platforms, but our main digital investment remains in the web area at this stage”.
Geoff Cohen – general manager of 24.com – said in a press release that News24 currently has more than 15 000 “active” iPad users on the app. “This indicates a huge uptake in content consumption on tablet devices. This trend is bound to progress and we have positioned ourselves to get the various brands digitally enabled to keep abreast of what consumers want with cutting edge apps,” he said.
Developing apps isn’t a cheap business, and with the News24 app free to iPad users, just how are they going to recoup that investment? “Our main income is on the web side of the business. The investments we are making in the application space for instance, won’t be recouped immediately. Display advertising is the main driver for our digital business,” Momberg explained.
Of course, that means different advertising options are available on the iPad app. “The iPad offers us the ability to serve rich media ad units including video specially created for the iPad which if done right are a lot more appealing than standard banner ads,” said Nadia Boucher, marketing manager and online brand manager of 24.com.
With mobile showing huge penetration into the South African market, it’s not surprising that savvy media companies are looking at how to tap into that huge consumer base. Ronald Bach, product manager at News24 said News24.com measures web separately from mobile and apps.
“We have implemented (and continue to fine tune) device detection and redirection software to shift mobile users who visit our websites on to our mobile sites or apps for a better experience. Ultimately the user decides on which platform they prefer to access their news from,” he said.
Total visits to news24: 69 053 963
Mobile devices sent 1 390 243 visits via 14 operating systems
The City Press and News24.com iPad apps won’t be the first and last apps from 24.com. As Cohen said, “Watch this digital space”.