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Posts Tagged ‘mobile’

NY Times Tightens Paywall on Mobile Apps

The execs at the New York Times appreciate that you read lots of articles via the paper’s mobile apps, but they just have one little request: Ante up. To nudge readers toward that goal, today the Times has tightened the paywall on its mobile apps.

Previously, anyone using a Times mobile app could access three free articles per day. The paper will now allow you to access just 10 free articles per month. After that, you’ll be prompted to pay for a subscription. Any articles reached by social network links still won’t count toward your monthly limit.

Now please, you know what to do: 1) Listen to some Mash Out Posse and 2) Buy a Times subscription.

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Study: More People Turning to Mobile Devices for News Consumption

A study from the Pew Research Center and The Economist Group has found that more Americans are using their mobile devices to read the news. The data comes from a survey of just over 9,500 adults, from June 29 through August 8.

What Pew and The Econonmist Group found was that 64 percent of tablet owners and 62 percent of mobile phone owners use them at least once per week to catch up on the news. Yes, despite our ability to play terrible mobile games and countless other things via our phones, most of us turn to our pocket-sized computers to find out what’s happening in the world.

Some of the key findings:

  • 73 percent of people who read the news on their tablets read a long-form article at least once per week
  • 43 percent of people who use tablets to read the news say it has increased the amount of news they consume
  • 31 percent of those surveyed say they get their news from news sources
  • Those who get their news via mobile devices reported being more engaged in the news than those who didn’t read news on mobile products

Patch Launches A More Social, More Mobile Site

In recent months, there’s been much talk of the booming New York tech scene. The city has the fastest growing tech sector in the nation, helped along by Mayor Bloomberg’s pitch to entrepreneurs and his Made in NY Digital Map. In Q2 of 2012, Internet accounted for 82 percent of VC investment, and total VC funding continues to rise.

One of NYC’s tech properties, Patch, is unveiling a new site today. I got a preview of the new site at Patch’s Chelsea offices, which puts heavy emphasis on social and mobile. Read more

GroupMe in $30M Bid War

New York-based group texting startup GroupMe is caught in the middle of an East Coast vs. West Coast venture capital brawl, pushing it’s valuation north of $30 million, according to a report.

Bidding from the West Coast included big names Sequoia, Andresseen Horowitz, and Khosla Ventures, while East Coast bidders included General Catalyst, Flybridge, and Union Square Ventures, according to the Silicon Alley Insider.

GroupMe lets users create mobile groups of users that can be contacted with a single phone number. Groups can be created around friends and family members, or around shared interests and events. The company demoed its service back in October at the New York Tech Meetup alongside bootstrapped competitor Fast Society with entertaining results.

An unnamed source quoted by SAI described GroupMe’s growth as “nuts – thousands of percent.”

Union Square Ventures pulled out of the bidding part way through over concerns that GroupMe’s service could overlap with another portfolio company, Twitter.

The microblogging giant actually considered purchasing GroupMe outright, but backed off as the price rose. Instead, Twitter decided to build its own version of the service internally.

According to reports, the California-based Khosla Ventures is prepared to up the ante yet again by valuing GroupMe at $33 million. Just a year ago, GroupMe received $700,000 in its first round of funding.

Fast Society Lands “Sick” Sponsorship Deal with CMJ Festival

Fast Society, the bootstrapped mobile group messaging service whose dev team took potshots at rival GroupMe last week, made good use of it’s personal connections, and landed it’s first big sponsorship deal with the CMJ Music Festival in New York City.

With an anticipated 500,000 attendees, the CMJ Music Marathon and Film Festival should give the Fast Society startup its first mass-user test. Fast Society was designed with time-limited events in-mind, according to co-founder Matthew Rosenberg, and allows users to create SMS messaging and conference calling groups with expiration dates. The CMJ festival lasts through October 23rd.

Fast Society poked fun at venture-backed competitor GroupMe at the New York Tech Meetup last Wednesday, when the two of them presented back-to-back demos.

As part of the partnership, Fast Society users will be able to access a CMJ concert schedule and maps to different venues around the city. When asked how his unfunded startup could get such a sweet sponsorship deal, Rosenberg pointed out the team’s personal connections to the CMJ community.

“We hustle our faces off. We made a sick deal for placement that was dirt cheap because we made the right friends. We are throwing sick parties because we made the right friends. We are on the ground working hard everyday because we are New Yorkers, and that is what New Yorkers do,” he said, according to TechCrunch.

When Startups Collide

What to you get when you take two startup teams working on the same type of mobile messaging service, and put them on stage in front of about 1,000 techno geeks? You get to see each team’s personality come through. That’s what happened at the New York Tech Meetup’s October event on Tuesday.

GroupMe, a service which lets users create group phone numbers for texting and conference calling, was immediately followed by startup group Onebluebrick, whose Fast Society service does pretty much the same thing. The only apparent differentiating factor was that Fast Society’s groups were designed to be temporary.

Meetup organizer Nate Westheimer introduced the pair with some inspirational comments ” People really shouldn’t worry about competition,” he said. “When it comes down to it, the success or failure of your startup is about how you execute your own plan.”

Thanks Nate, that’s the kind of positive talk we like. It can be easy to fall into the trap of worrying about competition instead of worrying about your own startup. Anyway, now that the positivity is over with, bring on the competitors!

GroupMe’s demo was pretty straightforward. Co-founders Jared Hecht and Steve Martocci showed how to create a group number, send messages, and start a conference call. All very slick, very controlled. Lots of applause at the appropriate moments. Then the Fast Society team took the stage, and the one-upmanship began.

Onebluebrick co-founder Matthew Rosenberg threw formality out the window, and started the Fast Society demo by gathering volunteers to perform a live test of the service.

He then took a jab at GroupMe when showed off Fast Society’s user interface. “This is not just hacked together, this is beautiful. We spend time working on this,” he said, referring to the fact that GroupMe

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