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Fox Business broadcasts bold app strategy with iPad offering

Cable television channel Fox Business Network is kicking its application strategy into high gear with the expected launch today of an iPad application.

Fox Business is targeting business-minded consumers who want an interactive tool that they can use while watching the network?s broadcasts or anywhere else. The application is available for free in Apple?s App Store.

?From a trader?s perspective, life at the terminal has all sorts of things going on,? said Jeff Misenti, vice president and general manager of Fox News Digital, New York. ?We?re a channel talking about all that stuff, and now we have a medium with a device where viewers can play and act along.

?[We?re aiming for] immersive devices and experiences that people can use not only on the go but also while watching the channel,? he said. ?This is baseline ? we have grandiose plans to keep upgrading as the device improves.?

Fox Business is owned by Fox Entertainment Group, a subsidiary of Rubert Murdoch?s News Corp.

The network already offers applications for iPhone and Android platforms.

How it works
The application?s homepage includes tabs that users can click on to find numerical and graphical information about the performance of stock market indices such as the Dow Jones, NASDAQ and the S&P 500.

Users can find information about the performance of these measures for the day, week, month or year.

The bottom of the page displays recent news and video stories that users can click on to expand.

A search bar runs across the top of every screen, and lets users search the application for stock quotes.

Meanwhile, a navigation bar runs across the bottom of the application, and lets users toggle between the homepage, a video section, recent news stories, a customizable user portfolio and a Channel Finder feature that directs users to the appropriate channel number for Fox Business wherever the user is.

?We created this app specifically to take advantage of the iPad real estate,? Mr. Misenti said. ?Especially as you?re trying to digest financial data, the large screen gives the liberty for new tools for comparison, and for watching and engaging with video and other content.

?The size of the screen allows more feature sets that are interactive for the consumer,? he said. ?The application is very visual and I think it really caters to business information, when you?re trying to take a lot of information and draw it into a bigger picture.?

A ?Fox Business Minute? button in the bottom-left corner of the screen alerts users when there is breaking news by switching from its default color, gray, to a shade of gold.

Users can click on the button to find out more.

Most of the features on the application exist in some capacity on Fox Business?s other mobile applications.

However, the My Money portfolio incorporates a new feature that lets users interact with multiple businesses' information at once.

?Users can look at stocks, overlay them and compare,? Mr. Misenti said. ?A user can say ?I own Target, but should I be buying Walmart? and see.?

Here is a screen grab of the My Money section of the application:

?Drawings [using the canvas element] can be done very easily,? Mr. Misenti said. ?How do I create something where the user annotates a chart and shares it that way?

?These are the types of things we?re working on, where you can look at something in a graph, circle it and share it,? he said.

Fox Business plans to monetize the application with sponsorships and rich media advertising.

IPad creates opportunities for TV
Several other television companies have already launched an application for the iPad.

For example, satellite TV provider Dish Network launched an iPad application that lets subscribers manage their DVR, and will soon be upgraded to include the ability to stream live TV (see story).

Similarly, ABC News recently rolled out its own iPad application, and has already generated more than 140,000 downloads (see story).

Mr. Misenti said that consumers are expecting more from media companies as mobile technology improves.

?The honest answer is they?re going to demand more from us,? Mr. Misenti said. ?They?re going to demand a more personal experience in every medium.

?All the statistics are saying that people are engaged with TV while at a laptop or a computer,? he said. ?Users are going to expect us to do something with mobile devices to change it so that [our broadcast] is a two-way experience.?

?We need to create more creative, interest content, and get it to people no matter what the device, as quickly as possible.?

Final Take
Peter Finocchiaro, editorial assistant at Mobile Marketer, New York