World Associacion Newspapers and News Publishers Middle East (WAN IFRA) took its place in Dubai on 24th of February, covering modern-time issues for news publishers. The central topic of the event was digitalizing the content, and new ways of presenting it. Amongst many speakers and points Jane Davenport, the Managing Editor of Toronto Star, Canada, delivered her speech “Creating a compelling tablet edition: Star Touch sets new standard for tablet news”, and presented an news tablet application StarTouch.
Instead of classic powerpoint presentation, the presenter launched the app and demonstrated the audience realtime capabilities of the StarTouch. Mrs Davenport outlined several points of what is unique about the project. The first point is the developoing process, which separates the app from traditional HTML and PDF-based news applications. Instead of uploading scanned pages or making website suitable for tablets, 70 designers and developers create unique template for each story. The other point mentioned by the speaker is the absence of pop-up advertisement and forcced video advertisement. It was clearly mentioned by Mrs Davenport that the app will not have any advertisment which will distract the reader from getting the content, “We put the reader in complete control of the experience.”
Adding to shared uniquness of the application, the managing editor shared the structure of the application, and how it differs from traditional way of getting the story by consumers. Compared to the traditional “you get and you read” , app users uncover the story by chapters, differentiated and classified. Also, Mrs Davenport shared some statistics over the usage of application, explaining how it gains downloads, and how the Toronto Star deals with statistics to help consumers use their products. For instance, developers add an average of 9 photos to the products because statistics shows that an average user llikes to skip through 9 pictures. The process of creation of unique stories also was underlined by the speaker, mentioning the change which traditional journalists should make in order to keep up with the emerging digital content demand, “Journalists need to know how to gather news and report thme differently.”
For present moment of existing of the application, it had a summary of 400000 dowloads in 5 months, and according to the speaker, they expect to get much more. TorontoStar does not make profit from the app, and as Jane Davenport put it answering the question from the audience, “we need more investments.” However, she didnt share how the app will monetize its content, but expressed confidence in telling that there are several ways which company is ready to introduce.