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July 24, 2014, 1 p.m.
Mobile & Apps
LINK: digiday.com  ➚   |   Posted by: Caroline O'Donovan   |   July 24, 2014

Digiday has an update today on the relaunch over at NowThis, formerly NowThis News.

Now, even a minute can seem like an eternity. And so NowThis has largely moved to 15-second videos, and the anchor has been replaced by text on the screen. NowThis also has dropped the “News” from its brand to reflect a broadening of its coverage to include op-eds, science and viral content. […]

“We don’t want to box ourselves in,” Mills said. “We are still a news company, but the definition of news has changed so much, and it means different things to different people. Our hyperfocus is connecting to mobile and social. Capturing people’s interest on different social platforms — that is what’s most interesting to us.”

Digiday confirms some of what we reported a few months ago regarding changes at NowThis. Videos will be shorter — aimed at Vine and Instagram lengths of six to fifteen seconds — and focus on viral content, including science and op-eds. Digiday reports that the new strategy has led to increased reach, with a 75 percent audience increase on Facebook and a 1,300 percent increase in average monthly views.

NowThis is still pushing their real-time newsroom for brands, though Mills said it can be challenging. In addition, there’s some skepticism about how much loyalty a publisher can engender when their identity is driven by form over content.

“NowThis has an interesting idea in terms of, we’re going to try a different format,” said Chia Chen, mobile practice lead at Digitas. “The reality is also the point of view you’re espousing in the content itself. It’s an interesting approach. If they had a distinct voice, that would make it even better.”

For what it’s worth, Jay Rosen agrees.

But for those who’d hoped that NowThis News might be figuring out a new model for fitting TV news into the mobile/social reality — it wasn’t that long ago that people were labeling it a “CNN killer” — the shift to more familiar viral territory is a little disappointing.

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