The way we discover and consumer content has been forever changed by the Internet. What the Web was to print media, curation services are to Web publications, though to a much lesser degree. There’s more collaboration and mutual beneficence to be found here, but the growing pains are still evident.
And that’s why there’s much experimentation focused around how these two sectors can work together. Today News360 takes a step in that direction, announcing a new beta program to partner with publishers like Fox Sports, The Atlantic, and Popular Science (plus some 25 others) to help get digital content to new eyes.
The program is being launched hot on the heels of News360’s big redesign, which CEO Roman Karachinsky tells me has given the startup greater insight into its readers. “We’re really, really happy with how engagement has gone up,” he says. “The number one thing we’re tracking is how much reading people are doing, because, even in the old version before we launched the redesign, sessions were long but there was a lot of swiping and looking at headlines. So one of our goals with the new release was to get people to really read more, and that’s why we wanted to find more niche, interesting, better content to go along with this idea.”
Karachinsky says that since the overhaul, people are reading twice as much and that session lengths have increased, as has retention.
And that’s where Web publishers come in. All those things mentioned above – people reading more, for longer, and coming back to said reading material – is what every publisher dreams of. And if attaining it means partnering with curation services, then so be it.
Of course, there are drawbacks here, and they always go back to the same thing: Money. When eyeballs don’t land on your personal page, they don’t land on your ads, and thus you sacrifice. But given the undeniable curation trend, it’s a quickly becoming the nature of the beast. Recently, we saw the dark side of that beast when read-it-later service Instapaper cut off access to a publication because of what turned out to be very personal reasons, a move that drew attention to the fact that an exclusive group of services can cut off the pipeline to content.
But when implemented fairly and with a dose of algorithm suggestions, mutual benefit can be found. “We don’t want to just surface the New York Times or the Wall Street Journal – you know about all those sources,” Kachinsky tells me. “We want to proactively find things you wouldn’t have seen otherwise. And that connection we can form between a new author or a new source gives value to the publishers. For niche and smaller, local publications, and content creators who are desperately looking for new ways to get readers, this can help them get that.”
The new News360 design will continue to roll out to more platforms in the near future, and an iPhone 5 optimized version will be ready in time for the phone by Friday.