October 20, 2014
The CNNgo app for tablets and desktops may just be what the future of television will look like. The app opens automatically to a live feed of the current show airing on CNN, and along the bottom, viewers can browse video, text, tweets, and photos related to the live programming. Another menu shows segments about different topics from the past couple of hours or days. The app abandons the traditional linear and often problematic model of consuming television news.
Instead, the CNNgo app is more semi-linear, according to Variety. Viewers could watch a segment on the Ebola cases in the U.S., and then jump backwards to reports from the first Ebola cases in Africa. Then a notification could let users know that the Centers for Disease Control is about to make a statement on the live feed.
This type of model solves some of the previous problems with watching television news. Many people start watching broadcasts in the middle, and often have to piece together the facts to figure out what is happening. Newscasters are aware of this problem, so often they repeat information for the people who may have missed the earlier portion of the broadcast. That can get repetitive for viewers who have been watching since the beginning.
The app allows the news network to cut out the repetitive parts of the show and simply direct users to another segment if they need background information.
Also, news stories will have a longer shelf life on the CNNgo app. Instead of getting buried in the archives section of their website, the content will continue to cycle through the sidebar and related stories panel.
The app, which originally launched in April under the name CNNx, has been modestly successful. Nieman Journalism Lab reports that the app has an impressive average time spent per user on the app, “an astounding (and almost TV-like) 47 minutes on the iPad and 104 minutes on the desktop.”
ESPN and other cable networks may be able to benefit from the same concept: seamless integration of VOD and live feed with content that’s different from the offerings on TV.