NBC News doubles down on mobile with responsive design, revamped apps
NBC News is making a harder push into original content and reporting with a new responsive Web site and redesigned iOS and Android applications.
The news organization claims that this is the biggest digital revamp of its Web site since its joint venture with Microsoft ended in July 2012. As NBC News looks to delve further into digital, the goal behind the new mobile products is to play up stories that take advantage of readers discovering content through social media and other digital platforms while downplaying the focus on traditional news sectors.
?Over the past year, we were really focused on first, how to best translate NBC News to digital, and the biggest part of that was embracing the way that our audience discovers and shares their stories and news,? said Greg Gittrich, vice president of news and product at NBC News and executive editor at NBCNews.com, New York.
?It was never an option not to be mobile-first,? he said.
?We started with a content strategy that was focused on how do we truly tell stories in a digital way so that we can move at the speed of the social Web, but also deliver original journalism and quality storytelling in a way that was highly sharable.?
NBC News? site and apps now place a bigger emphasis on visuals.
For example, the responsive site includes a new video player and original digital content.
The new original content consists of two new series called ?Start Me? and ?The Debunker? that present news through animated shorts or content that shows how consumers? assumptions about news topics are not necessarily true.
Additional original content franchises are planned to roll out in the near future.
The idea is that a story nowadays can take on many different forms these days including images, tweets, GIFs, videos or a fully-produced story that incorporates several types of storytelling.
Infinite scrolling is also now included so that consumers can access a constant stream of news articles and content.
NBC News also has added a new vertical to its coverage that focuses around the Latino community and has plans to roll out another vertical that will hone in on the Asian Pacific Islander community.
?We?re focusing on stories, storylines and then our well-known journalists,? Mr. Gittrich said.
?So we have de-prioritized traditional sections and have chosen to lead with coverage that we know our audience is interested in and arcs of coverage that we?re investing significant resources around original reporting,? he said.
On the advertising side, NBC has rolled out several new ad units into the responsive site.
The first product is an edge-to-edge unit that fits across the width of a browser and can be placed on the homepage or within a stream of stories.
NBC News is also investing in native advertising and sponsored content.
Moreover, there are advertising opportunities around sponsored storylines that cover arcs of coverage.
For example, an advertiser can be incorporated into specific news topic with ads that are clearly marked as ads and placed within coverage areas such as technology or health.
NBC News has also revamped its iOS and Android apps with many of the same features that are included within the responsive site.
For instance, the app has been updated to include faster visuals and a stream of content.
The app also now downloads articles automatically so that readers do not need to be connected to a wireless network to read new stories.
There is also a split-screen feature that lets consumers watch a video while also reading a story.
?The way we view this is that we now have a great foundation to build upon,? Mr. Gittrich said.
?This is definitely the beginning, and in the days, weeks, months ahead, you?ll see new features, you?ll see more interactives,? he said.
Lauren Johnson is associate reporter on Mobile Marketer, New York