The Sky News iPad App- First Look

By Phil Georgiadis

Well they do like to be ‘First’, and a day early the Sky News Ipad App is out and available to download.

Its streams the main Sky News channel live, in line with the website and iPhone app. You can also rewind and pause the live channel- rather like Sky Plus.

But the really interesting thing about the App is the way it lets the user choose the news through video content.

Last night Sky’s Political Editor Adam Boulton held a preview session for tech bloggers in Sky’s Westminster newsroom, and the general consensus seems to be overwhelmingly positive.

The Random Mel blog has uploaded a video here of Adam Boulton showing the app off.

It’s interesting to note that the blogger says that she believes that the app ‘will revolutionise the shape of our news consumption going forwards’, echoing up Sky’s promotional publicity.

But why is this such a potentially important step forward?

Clearly as befits the nature of the Ipad, the App is very video heavy- that’s visible from the screengrabs and demos available. But crucially Adam Boulton says that the way that the interface is designed allows you to essentially build your own news bulletin, with related video appearing immediately along side content being viewed.

This backs up my preview post yesterday, which suggested that it turns the user into a vision mixer, directing online video content so as to make bespoke and individual news programming.

Sky have an editorial team of fourteen people working full time on the App, so clearly it is something they have heavily invested in and expect big things from.

At the moment it is free to all users, but in the future they say they plan to charge non Sky subscribers to use the App.

If you have the App leave a comment and let us know what you think of the App. Revolutionary or style over substance?

You Direct the News – Straight From Your iPad

By Phil Georgiadis

Later this week Sky News is launching a new service- ‘Sky News for iPad’, a new take on its existing iPad app. Many news providers have been capitalising on the ever increasing smartphone and tablet market, offering what are essentially paired down versions of their online content.

However, Sky News promises something different with their service for the iPad. They claim that it will offer ‘an entirely new way’ of delivering news events- allowing users to ‘decide what they watch and how they watch it’.

Sky is well known for pushing the boundaries and trying to innovate at every step, so what does this new app mean for online video journalism? Details on Sky’s app are still sketchy, and essentially are confined to this intriguing promo video.

The app is out on March 17th, and until then we can only speculate, but judging from the video it does seem as though it will go some way to putting the online viewing experience into the user’s hands. This raises the fascinating idea of taking editorial judgments out of the news provider’s control. Instead the user picks and chooses which video to watch and when- becoming an amateur vision mixer.

Sky have form on this, their Sky News Active service, which has since been paired down, used to offer eight screens of video content for the viewer to flick between. This seems to be an advanced version, using the touch screen versatility of the iPad to create a polished and intuitive app that crucially puts the online video journalism experience firmly in the hands of the user.

Come back on March 17th for a review of the app, and to find out whether it lives up to the hype.

I Watch, Therefore iPad

Apple's ipad (promotional image)

Apple's iPad - introducing video journalism to the mainstream? (apple.com)

By Emily Craig

When it launched the iPad, Apple described its new product as ‘revolutionary’. And, with its 9.5 inch high resolution screen, it has been designed with video in mind.

Aware that more and more people are consuming video content online, the iPad is marketed as ‘the best way to experience the web, email, photos and video’. But is Apple responding to a demand for video content that already exists, or is it stimulating that demand?

There is clear evidence to support the latter. YouTube and Apple have collaborated on a new app, designed specifically for iPad users. Steve Jobs, CEO of Apple, and Rupert Murdoch, the most famous risk-taker in the journalism business, have just launched a new newspaper – The Daily Its focus? Delivering video content.

At the same time, a new report suggests that people are more likely to spend longer viewing videos on a mobile device than when they’re sitting down at their desktops. Those who own iPads demonstrate the longest ‘staying power’ (about 5 minutes). So it looks like Jobs and Murdoch might be onto something.

It could go either way for The Daily. At the moment, everything Apple touches turns a profit; Murdoch, the traditional newspaper man, is searching for a game changer. But if The Daily succeeds, it’s unlikely to be the first attempt at capturing the iPad market.

The iPad is allowing people to consume content in a different way. In fact, it’s a device designed for content consumption. Unlike a laptop, there isn’t a keyboard; unlike a laptop, with its connotations of work, the iPad advertisements show us young, attractive men and women lounging and ‘playing’.

It’s one thing to watch a music video on your iPad via its YouTube app, it’s quite another to expect the ‘news’ to arrive this way. Apple successfully sells entertainment – arguably, it’s the iPod that’s enabled the company to secure mainstream sales figures. But it’s not yet clear whether the iPad will understand, or will promote, more serious video journalism.

Many people are waiting to see what happens to The Daily. 10 million iPads are expected to be sold by the end of the year, as Apple’s competitors launch their own tablet computers.

If this new technology doesn’t invite video journalists to the party, it’s difficult to imagine who or what will finally secure them their mainstream popularity.