Apple are widely seen as taking an idea and “making it work” and whilst we could debate the finer points of their approach, for the most part it does not matter: when Apple take hold of an idea and instill it into their products, more often than not the world takes interest and competitor device manufacturers and software companies rush to build a similar service or product into their offerings. One of the services Apple discussed at their June WWDC event was a new application called “News,” which is a Flipboard clone. Apple are busy hiring journalists to either write summaries or stories or curate source material for their Flipboard clone (it is not clear yet) in order to present customers with a personalized newsfeed. It’s nothing that we haven’t seen before; in addition to Flipboard, HTC released Blinkfeed in 2013 with the HTC One M7. However, what Apple does with their software, Samsung will often follow suit and today a joint venture between Samsung and German digital media giant, Axel Springer, has taken place. The collaboration includes a beta version of a joint news application, called UPDAY, available to selected customers in Germany and Poland via the Samsung Galaxy Apps, Google Play Store or Galaxy Gifts routes.
Axel Springer SE’s Chief Executive Officer, Mathias D¶pfner, had this to say on the matter: “Over the past few years, there have been many occasions in which Axel Springer and Samsung … have exchanged views on the fantastic technological opportunities for journalism in the digital age. These discussions have now resulted in this exciting strategic partnership. It is a privilege to be collaborating with Samsung to bring creative new services to the market in 2016 and beyond.” This underscores that the version of UPDAY is an early beta and the eventual application will not be fully released until 2016 – the beta will be available this Thursday, September 3rd. UPDAY is the first service to have been developed under the partnership. The service will be a Samsung-only offering designed to provide customers with a “need to know” set of news stories together with “want to know” articles, based on customers’ individual tastes, interests and preferences. The UPDAY news will be selected by a local market editorial team and this highlights an important part of the story: the service is only going to be available in Europe and at the time of writing, there are no plans to roll this out to other parts of the world.
Why Axel Springer? Springer is one of the largest digital media businesses in Europe, with around two-thirds of sales via the online route (and three-quarters of the businesses’ core profit). Although neither business will disclose the terms of the arrangement, it seems that Samsung are paying Axel Springer to produce the editorial content, which is both from within and outside of Axel Springer’s publications. The service will offer snippets and links to website articles; one difference is that rather than directly controlling the news and needing to build a team from scratch, as Apple is doing with Apple News, instead Samsung is utilizing a specialist media company with existing talent. Ultimately, UPDAY will depend on both the quality of the application but more on the quality of the news stories selected by the editorial team.