8 Comments

Summary:

The Washington Post’s new daily news show The Fold is interesting for a number of reasons: It debuts on Google TV and was made specifically to be viewed on connected TVs, and its target audience are cord cutters who don’t watch cable news anymore.

the fold feature art

“The target consumer is a cord cutter.” The Washington Post’s SVP and Chief Digital Officer Vijay Ravindran doesn’t beat around the bush when he is talking about The Fold, a new daily news program launched by his company this week. The Fold is made for people who use Netflix and Hulu, but don’t have any good source for their daily news fix, Ravindran told me during a phone conversation. “There is a great opportunity in the news space” to serve this audience, he added.

The Fold is distributed through PostTV, an Android app that debuted this week on Google TV and Android tablets, and Ravindran told me that the program was made very much with Google TV devices in mind. The show, which runs a total of 15 minutes every night, is split up into several segments, giving viewers the option to either watch the whole thing without any interruption, or skip over the stories that don’t interest them.

Ravindran said that his team followed a mobile-first kind of approach when developing both the show and the app, except that it put the connected TV experience first and then rethought how to make a show that works for it. “We are really working backwards from there,” he said.

A lot of other apps simply take all the video assets of a publisher and make them available on TVs without any additional curation, he lamented. His team on the other hand wanted to build a unique experience that people come back to, much like people used to come home to the evening news. “We are more focused on the daily habit than on one-time use,” Ravindran said, explaining that the app lets users know via Google TV’s notifications whenever a new episode is available.

So why launch on Google TV, as opposed to Roku or maybe even Samsung’s connected TV platform? Ravindran’s answer was refreshingly pragmatic: “We had to start somewhere.” His team had a lot of experience with Android, he added, and developing for Google TV had the benefit that they could also have it work on Andoid tablets without too many modifications. But there will be apps for other platforms as well going forward. Said Ravindran: “We aspire to be on all the platforms that make sense.”

To learn more about cord cutting, check out my ebook Cut the Cord: All You Need to Know to Drop Cable.

  1. Sounds interesting. Too bad it doesn’t work on my Samsung Galaxy Tab.

    Share
    1. Vijay Ravindran Friday, October 5, 2012

      PostTV is available for Galaxy Tabs Android 3.1 and up. If that describes you, please email posttv wapolabs.com and we’ll take a look. the first generation Galaxy Tabs are still on Gingerbread (2.3) and are not supported.

      Share
  2. Interesting – except that I’ll never see it since i don’t have Google TV. (I have virtually every other item of cord-cutter gear.)

    I think it would have been a WHOLE lot smarter to start with Roku, or even a podcast. You know – something that people actually watch. You picked the wrong platform…

    Share
  3. 1st gen Galaxy Tab with Gingerbread.

    I agree with the poster above. A video podcast that you could subscribe to using an RSS feed (just like Cord Cutters) is a a must.

    Share
  4. Does anyone actually own a GoogleTV? Why not AppleTV, Roku? Or better yet, why not Hulu? This seems a very odd distribution model to me.

    Share
    1. I own one. They’re awesome! :)

      Share
  5. Should be an interesting read. I cut-the-cord, pulled-the-plug, told Time Warner to go pound sand earlier this year after I successfully flashed an WRT54g router into a repeater bridge, which I then used to provide hard-wire connections to a Roku, Wii and an old ReplayTV box I hacked into a modern DVR.

    Sure, all but the last device can work WiFi, but using a router flashed with DDWRT to serve as a repeater-bridge works better as the unit negotiates much better with my router, and reduces the number of IP addresses used in house, along with RF emitting from the various devices.

    Oh yeah, I also installed a MoHu Digital Antenna which I run into a Zinwell Digital to Analog Converter Box because my very large, but somewhat older TV isn’t HDMI ready. I get about 26 TV stations, including all of Saturday’s college football offerings, and Sunday’s NFL offerings.

    This in combination w/NetFlix & HuLu Plus gives me way more options at way less cost than the folks at TWC.

    I also switched to Vonage when Time Warner told me they were going to jack-up my digital phone because I was ditching their cable services. I warned them, they didn’t listen.

    Share
  6. This sounds cool. They should team up with Revision3. they are on the boxee(god rest their souls), XBMC, roku, and other platforms. Revision3, which I know very little about, is geared towards this tech audience anyway. Also, it would be automatic exposure.

    Share

Comments have been disabled for this post