Back in April, when Fox News Channel showed up to the iPhone party a bit later than most major news organisations, Jeremy Steinberg, FNC’s VP for digital sales & business development, told paidContent’s David Kaplan that there were no plans to develop an app for Google’s Android.
Looks like it didn’t take long for the network to change its mind—FNC will announce later today that it has released an Android app. (See right)
“We were thrilled with the success of the iPhone app,” Steinberg told us by phone Tuesday (as of this posting it was the No. 2 most downloaded free iPhone app in the “News” category), “and we’ve seen an uptick in the adoption of the Android platform, so we decided to rush this thing out because we think it’s a big opportunity to touch a new market.”
Android apps have largely been the domain of geek coders. Although, on Monday, Google introduced a buzzy new tool called “App Inventor” that enables anyone competent enough to use a drag-and-drop interface to create their own simple Android mobile apps.
But FNC’s app is a sign that mainstream media is investing in Android. Other news organisations that have developed apps for Google’s mobile operating system include NPR and The New York Times, which, interestingly enough, are currently the second and third most downloaded free iPhone news apps behind FNC. (Each outlet’s Android app is also free.)
As far as we can tell, neither CNN nor MSNBC, FNC’s cable news rivals, have created Android apps. But third party apps appear to exist for both networks. (We have an email out to Google to confirm which news outlets have developed their own apps so far.)
The Fox News Android app, like its iPhone app, will feature video from FNC shows, breaking news alerts, live radio, and social networking capabilities.
When FNC’s iPhone app launched, Sprint was the exclusive sponsor. Its Android app, however, does not have any sponsors yet, though there is “interest,” Steinberg said.
“The market for mobile advertising is heating up,” he said. “I’m feeling excited about the prospects over the next 18 months for the mobile industry.”
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