Six months ago the Orange County Register launched its first tablet app. It’s apparently been a success. So much so that the Register is launching a second app. Interestingly, the most popular features of the original app did not originate from the Register press room. Instead, they were short 2-3 minute video programs and slideshows customized for the app. Users apparently love them, but were also confused about why more traditional news content was so difficult to find. So the paper is renaming its original app to “The Peel”–and rebranding it as a more video-oriented entity almost entirely distinct from OC Register newsroom content. Breaking news will be filtered through a new app called “News Edition.” NetNewsCheck editor Michael Depp spoke with Register parent company Freedom Interactive president Doug Bennett about the plan.
I don’t believe that a portal or a one-stop shop makes sense. A lot of people are interested in the weather, but they don’t come to the Orange County Register. They go to Weather.com. Some people will come, but by trying to be all things to all people — at the end of the day we’re going to take care of the audience that wants us to be that, but there’s a younger audience that thinks, ‘Why would you go to a newspaper?’ I’m trying to change that by saying, don’t think this is a newspaper, we’re information and entertainment.
Hmmm. So essentially what’s happening is that the reputation of the OC Register‘s news room is being used to sell a new entertainment product. Which is fine, if it boosts the bottom line for all. Hopefully success doesn’t mean sucking resources out of the newsroom, though.