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MediaFed Planning to Outperform Flipboard Following Taptu Buy Out

Strug­gling news aggre­ga­tion app Tap­tu must have thought all of its Christ­mases had come at once fol­low­ing its acqui­si­tion by Euro­pean news­feed mon­e­ti­za­tion and RSS com­pa­ny Medi­aFed and now the pair are plan­ning to take on estab­lished read­er apps includ­ing Flip­board and Pulse.

It’s long been known that news read­er apps are oper­at­ing in a com­pet­i­tive mar­ket that’s near­ing sat­u­ra­tion, and when Tap­tu was launched in 2010, it quick­ly found that sur­vival was not going to be easy. Read­er apps tra­di­tion­al­ly strug­gle with dis­tri­b­u­tion, as well as fight­ing numer­ous law­suits from dis­grun­tled media com­pa­nies, all while try­ing to work out how to actu­al­ly make mon­ey. When faced with that kind of mar­ket, it seems Taptu’s end­ing is prob­a­bly a hap­py one.

Com­pet­ing with Flip­board

By wel­com­ing Tap­tu into the fold, UK-based Medi­aFed is hop­ing to bol­ster its news aggre­ga­tion ser­vices and help it go up against the more estab­lished Flip­board, Pulse, Feed­ly and Pris­mat­ic. It’s also fol­low­ing a trend set about a year ago by CNN, who pur­chased Zite, a news read­er tool that the com­pa­ny plans to use as part of its mobile strat­e­gy. How­ev­er, unlike CNN, Medi­aFed is not a pub­lish­er, it’s an adver­tis­ing net­work which places con­tent with­in RSS streams and by acquir­ing Tap­tu, which uses RSS a lot in its own algo­rithms, Medi­aFed can com­pete direct­ly with the estab­lished play­ers and tap into unclaimed RSS adver­tis­ing deals across mobiles.

Ash­ley Har­ri­son, Medi­aFed CEO, says the acqui­si­tion will “cre­ate the first glob­al plat­form to mon­e­tize RSS across all dig­i­tal devices.”

Big Prof­its Despite Lack of Mar­ket­ing

Medi­aFed is some­what mys­te­ri­ous. It has not invest­ed in any PR and has – per­haps inten­tion­al­ly – kept itself in the shad­ows. This could be because it want­ed to avoid the dread­ed Feed­burn­er, which many feel has become stilt­ed. Despite the lack of pro­file, Medi­aFed has 125 mil­lion users which it has accu­mu­lat­ed by build­ing pub­lish­er rela­tion­ships. The com­pa­ny boasts a mobile user base of over 50 mil­lion and to date its UK sales alone have tipped $5 mil­lion.

In com­par­i­son Tap­tu found its reach severe­ly ham­pered by its lack of pres­ence in Sil­i­con Val­ley, and while its search facil­i­ty was effec­tive and its meta­mor­pho­sis into a tablet news app was suc­cess­ful to a point, with­out a Cal­i­forn­ian base the company’s suc­cess was always going to be lim­it­ed. This buy­out then, seems like a God­send for Tap­tu.

A Promis­ing Future?

Post-buy­out the future looks promis­ing for Tap­tu and its par­ent com­pa­ny. Now it doesn’t have to wor­ry about mon­e­tiz­ing, Tap­tu can go all out to grab a share of the mar­ket from Flip­board et al as its flex­i­ble app ran on iOS, Android, Sam­sung and Black­ber­ry plat­forms in more than 100 coun­tries.

It’s wide­ly felt that because it doesn’t need to focus on its own prof­it, Tap­tu is ide­al­ly placed to mon­e­tize the read­er app – espe­cial­ly when you con­sid­er that Flipboard’s efforts so far have been some­what under­whelm­ing.

Tap­tu can, poten­tial­ly at least, also avoid some of the legal issues that have plagued oth­er read­er start-ups when their ser­vices have been absorbed by larg­er com­pa­nies. Some of the World’s most high-pro­file pub­lish­ers already have agree­ments in place with Medi­aFed and so would be unlike­ly to launch any law­suits against Tap­tu. Also, Taptu’s own mobile pub­lish­ing tech­nol­o­gy Tap­form dri­ves con­tent for large pub­li­ca­tions includ­ing Dutch out­let De Pers and The Guardian Envi­ron­ment, all of which could mean the way is clear for Medi­aFed and its new baby to dom­i­nate the read­er app space.

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