How Reuters made a free personalised ‘news wire’ with app based on 5,000 niche topics

Reuters has switched its consumer strategy away from general news audiences to target professionals with a highly personalised news app designed to inform rapid business decision-making.

The new service, which went live this week, aims to replicate the scrolling experience of timelines on Facebook and Twitter, while allowing users to customise their diet of Reuters content from 5,000 hyper-niche news “feeds” on specialist topics, industry sectors, companies and individuals.

“We are allowing people to curate their own news wire,” says Isaac Showman, managing director of Reuters Consumer, in an interview with The Drum. “That’s an incredibly powerful proposition.”

By focusing on user utility and personalisation, Reuters hopes to make its news app an indispensable tool for professionals, providing a free-to-access service in a news market where specialist and trusted business information is often found behind a paywall. “It’s quite a deliberate decision – an expression that we have a commitment around serving the business professional audience,” says Showman. “We have had to rebuild everything to make this work.”

Business and show business side by side

The focus on a professional audience doesn’t mean that showbusiness news is off the Reuters agenda. “We are aiming at business professionals but it’s not just business content,” Showman says. “People will subscribe to a feed on bonds and another one on Beyoncé. People have varied interests and Reuters is famous for covering the entertainment and commodities markets with the same level of rigour and quality.”

While other news apps offer users a customised service (such as the ‘My News’ feature on the BBC News app), Reuters will hope that its depth of information and its exceptional coverage of the markets will give it an edge with professionals.

The Reuters news app, which is initially available on Apple’s iOS but will be extended to Android devices, is advertiser supported and users have the option of allowing their ads to be customised to their interests.

“The one thing we do know is that the users – with some exceptions – don’t pay for content; they pay for the benefits they get from that content.”

Source: thedrum.com; 2 Aug 2018

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