From Flipboard and Aol Editions, to Ongo and News.me, the rise of tablets and apps is changing how we gather and consume content. A couple of apps have grabbed the headlines in recent months. Flipboard has closed over $60 million in funding and has a $200 million valuation. More recently, Zite was snapped up by CNN. Even Google (NSDQ: GOOG) is jumping on this bandwagon, based on reports of Google Propeller designed so Android and iOS users can curate content.
But is there a business in new-style aggregation?
Probably not for all of these or many of the versions we have yet to see. But the blend of style with the right devices and the right business model offers a decent foundation. Flipboard CEO Mike McCue thinks his company can do it with advertising revenue and, for now, all within Apple’s operating system. The Washington Post (NYSE: WPO) Co.’s Trove is banking on mixing advertising revenue with being completely cross platform. Others, like News.me and Ongo are counting on a blend of subscription fees and advertising. What they all have going for them: a plethora of information and sources and, thanks to HTML5 and other innovations, formats that are far more pleasing to use than the batches of linked headlines that keep some away from RSS. It also helps that they have consumer-friendly names, some more so than others, and an easy threshold for use.
For consumers, there are now so many of these next-generation RSS readers that it can be daunting to keep them straight. But they have distinct differences. Some curate content with an algorithm, while others use a team of editors. Some have made partnerships with publishers, while some are charging ahead without them. And there are other differences too, in areas like customization, sharing and price. To see how some of the new aggregators stack up, check out our chart below.