Mobile advertising agencies may be interested in a brand new “breaking news” iPhone app.
Circa1605, craftily named after the year the world saw its first newspaper, has developed an app specifically designed for smartphone users who like to keep abreast of the news without all the fluff.
Atoms of news
CEO Matt Galligan believes the news options currently available for smartphone users are plentiful but not particularly good. With the Circa app, he explains, news content “gets a different design, so that it fits on the screen and the fonts look appropriate, but the content itself hasn’t changed.
The time that you consume with this device is dramatically different.”
In an approach that has drawn comparisons with some mobile phones advertising campaigns, lengthy reported articles are supplanted by short, punchy bits of information about headlining events across the world. The “bits” (or “atomic units of news” in Circa’s language) are aggregated and forged into coherently short stories by the company’s 12 writers based in the U.S., the U.K. and China.
Galligan likens each “atomic unit” to a flashcard – but a continually updated one that brings developing news on a specific topic at the tap of a button. The technology is designed for smartphone users who have little time to sit and ponder while they’re “on the go” but would like to check the news during “gap time”, like waiting for a subway train or standing in the queue at the sandwich bar.
Original content from other journalists’ news atoms
Circa also monitors how far into the stories mobile users reach and plans to develop this into a feature capable of recommending new reports based on users’ previously noted interests and preferences. All of Circa’s content will be original, even if it borrows a composition style currently used by journalists adding updated “Tweets” to earlier stories.
Galligan is clear that, for the time being, he’s not aiming to offer the deeper analyses available in periodicals like The Economist and The New Yorker. Online media outlets will also continue with traditional reporting narratives because they make money from serving digital ads to a mass audience. It’s still something of a closely guarded secret at this stage, however, how Circa plans to make money from its flashcards and story streams.