While a lot of iPad apps are mostly larger versions of an existing iPhone app, *ABC* News has tried to do something a little different with its new free app, making the most of the screen with a spinning, expandable “news globe” that features the news items. In addition, Apple’s restrictions against Flash also inspired the ABC (NYSE: DIS) News digital team to use HTML5 on ABCNews.com. As for the paywall strategy that ABC News SVP Paul Slavin told paidContent about earlier this year, Andrew Morse, executive producer for Integration and Innovation at ABC News Digital, told us today that there are no plans in place yet, but “[they're] still thinking about it.”
Having to use HTML5 has certain advantages when it comes to viewing the site on other tablets and devices, said Isaac Josephson, VP of Product Development, ABC News Digital. While he didn’t mention Android’s expected tablet, Josephson said that using HTML5 is simpler and less cumbersome to produce for another system. “The app is actually a hybrid between a regular, closed app, and an HTML5 site,” Josephson
Building such an extensive HTML5 function for the app reflected “a need for speed” in order to keep up with constant changes in systems without having to do a major upgrade each time. “Doing an upgrade often takes a lot of time and sometimes, a lot of dollars,” Josephson said. “With HTML5, we don’t have to look outside and we don’t have to spend a lot of time and money to make changes. Plus, if we want to import it over to Android, there’s not a lot of work required either.”
Both executives said that they don’t foresee any paid components to the app in the near future, and plan to stick with ad support. The launch sponsors are Chrylser’s Jeep brand and the Truvia natural sweetener.
ABC News also believes that the app, which launched Wednesday, is a perfect venue to take better advantage of its 50 years of news clips. The digital team has licenses that allow them to go as far back to 1963 for news footage.
The spinning globe, which plays off the ABC World News Tonight icon, can be used by users to organize story topics. It is also intended to be experienced in a different way from its iPhone app, which stresses breaking stories and local news.
“We initially started with a tag cloud or a topic cloud, which a lot of sites have, but the spinning globe seemed to fit the experience of being at home and leisurely meandering through it,” Josephson said. “Whereas the iPhone app might be used when you’re commuting on the train or on your way to a meeting, this one is meant to be more immersive.”