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USA Today bolsters readership, news consumption via iPad app

USA Today has rebuilt its iPad application from the ground up and enhanced it with new utilities and capabilities to drive reader engagement.

The company looked at research on how tablets are being used for news consumption and revamped its new iPad app to meet consumer needs. The app features bigger images and more visual storytelling  to entice new and existing readers.

?The launch of the new iPad app is a continuation of the reimagination of all USA Today products ? print and digital ? and builds on the great success of our original iPad app,? said Bill Cronin, vice president of marketing at USA Today.

?Far more than just a news-reader, it provides greater utility and a richer content experience that allows consumers to get their news quickly when and how they want it,? he said. ?We began the product development process by focusing on consumer research around how tablets are used for news consumption, and a deep understanding of the USA Today audience.

?These insights led he development team to design the app to adapt to how users consume news based on time of day. At the same time we are very focused on how to organize our newsroom to create much more original content for the tablet. We are reinventing the way we develop content based on platform and changing consumer habits.?

Mobile news
The new iPad app features live video coverage, up-to-the-second headlines, interactive weather mapping, editorial commentary and user-controls, which will let users see stories and follow the news the way they want to consume it, per Mr. Cronin.

The app also adapts to how users consume news based on time of day.

For example, readers can see a quick-scan text view of the day?s stories in the morning and an image-focused view in the evening.

The app features a quick information panel that lets consumers select the critical data and information they want to see.

Users can choose from the latest sports scores, weather alerts, stocks, games and travel information.

Furthermore, the app includes social media features that let users share news on their social platforms with the push of a button.

?They will continue to become an integral part of consumer's digital life, further eroding the traditional role of the PC,? Mr. Cronin said. 

?Their prevalence and the evolution of their form factors will also begin to blur the definition of what is a mobile device versus tablet versus desktop,? he said.

Ground up
Rebuilding the iPad app from the ground up is a very smart move for USA Today.

Tablets are becoming even more popular than smartphones and consumers are increasingly turning to them to consume news.

Therefore, seeing trends and accommodating a seamless reader experience is a great way for USA Today to bolster its brand presence.
?We understand that consumers? news consumption habits have changed and we are changing with them,? Mr. Cronin said.

?USA Today understands how consumers interact across all platforms and we are redesigning our digital products to give them the information they want when and how they want it,? he said. ?We are building a news platform in a layered, nonlinear fashion with social, digital, print and video all happening on the same story at the same time. 

?This allows our readers see stories and follow the news the way they want to consume and puts us in the best position to host the American conversation.?

Final Take
Rimma Kats is associate editor on Mobile Marketer, New York