If you buy an Apple Watch, National Public Radio, CNN, The New York Times and ESPN hope to get a little bit more of your time.
Wearables have been seen as a a bit of a conundrum for media organizations. They’re a new form of media distribution but the amount of information you can distribute is extremely limited.
This has left media companies looking for ways to provide users with information in smaller, personalized doses that can then be elaborated upon by request. That translates to a focus on notifications and personalization for CNN’s new app., said CNN Chief Product Officer Alex Wellen. “When you design something, it’s about looking at the canvas you have,” he said. “We knew that there was nothing more personal, as Tim Cook said, than a device that’s right up against your skin.”
CNN’s app allows users to personalize 12 categories that control what news and notifications appear on the watch. The app is also meant to be a gateway to CNN’s content online and on television. Users will be able to explore news topics that start as a watch notification and continue onto their smartphones for richer content like live video, Wellen said.
It would seem that for now no organization is publishing full stories to the watch, opting instead for short snippets. The New York Times noted in its app description that Apple Watch users will be able to scroll through photos and a lead-in to each story. Each app appears to want to drive users to their smartphones for longer text and video.
Ryan Spoon, ESPN’s head of product development, echoed Wellen’s thoughts. The company’s app will also prominently feature notifications and personalization, he said.
This is not new territory for ESPN. The sports media giant already sends billions of notifications a month, Spoon noted, and features personalization in its apps that allow users to quickly access scores of their favorite teams.
“The watch is obviously a close relative of your handset,” he said. “It is very much about quick delivery of real-time personalized information.”
Spoon also said that the watch app will work in concert with ESPN’s smartphone app to provide users with quick access to more information on demand.
The watch rolls out with only four media apps, but each represents a venerable brand with decades in the industry. There is little doubt that many more will follow.
CNN’s Spoon emphasized the intimacy of the product, nothing that it is quite literally as close as a media company can get to a person.
“We’re betting big on wearables and we think it’s critical to news,” Spoon said. “That watch is going to be up against your skin and that is so profoundly important.”
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